North Central News

Gift bags offer a sweet surprise

To show those special people in your life how much sweeter it is with them in it, consider giving them a “Remember Me Honey” gift bag, available from SunTree Adult Day & School for Seniors, 4120 N. 20th St.

SunTree Adult Day & School for Seniors offers this “Remember Me Honey” gift bag—with honey in a jar, honey soap and a honey dipper—for just $10, with proceeds benefit the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and a dementia-related or brain-injury related charities (submitted photo).

The bags, which include honey in a jar, honey soap, and a wooden honey dipper, are assembled by clients in SunTree’s adult day program. The campaign was first launched at the center in 2013, and was re-introduced in late 2016 because of one special center client.

Rebecca, who was originally from New Orleans, La., would tell center staff stories about her experiences with Hurricane Katrina, how she tried to help those affected by the super storm. She would also share stories about how she raised her grandson after her daughter passed away from cancer at the young age of 40.

The 80-something-year-old still had an itch to give back, and asked staff to help her find something purposeful to do.

“I wanted bring back this campaign so that Rebecca could feel like she was able to ‘work’ again,” explains Van Nguyen, SunTree program director. “And the truth was that we enjoyed being with her. We saw her strength and courage.”

Rebecca and other adult day clients would help tie purple ribbons onto the jars of honey, hole punch gift cards, and help keep track of orders. Purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s awareness movement.

“In the years of working with our participants I have learned that many want to contribute and help, feel useful, work, do something for someone else,” Nguyen said. “The want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.”

In 2014, SunTree was able to present $500 to the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Since November 2016, more than 40 bags have been assembled and sold, bringing in more than $2,000 in donations.

“While we were working hard on revisiting the campaign, Rebecca was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer and passed away on Nov. 16, 2016,” Nguyen said. “I found it necessary to work harder in her memory. And while Rebecca is no longer here with us, her energy continues.”

Since the staff at SunTree treats its clients like family, it made sense to find a family-owned business to help with the “Remember Me Honey” bags.

The honey and soap comes from family-owned eBeeHoney.com in Ashland, Ohio. While showering your loved ones with a sweet surprise, the bags also are to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain injury or chronic illnesses resulting in memory loss.

The bags are just $10, and proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association or a dementia-related or brain-injury related charity of your choice.

SunTree is open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information about the campaign, visit www.remembermehoney.com. To pre-order a gift bag or for questions, call Van Nguyen at 602-441-4900.

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