Two groups gave away more than 90 blankets to seniors at the PACE health care facility in Orangeburg last month.

Organizers of the giveaway and officials at the facility said the donations were a good way to celebrate the holidays.

The Tiffany Grant Foundation worked with Zeta Phi Beta sorority’s Alpha Omicron Zeta Chapter to donate and distribute the blankets.

Volunteers from the foundation and sorority wheeled the large box of blankets, wrapped like a Christmas present, into the social hall of the center where dozens of seniors gathered with Christmas music playing from the television.

Tiffany Grant Foundation Director Latisha Walker and sorority chapter officers introduced themselves to the seniors before distributing the blankets. Members of the sorority also led the room in a short rendition of “Silent Night.”

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“I just always feel overwhelmed with joy to be able to help,” Walker said after the giveaway. “At the Tiffany Grant Foundation, our mission is serving youth and vulnerable populations and the elderly are a vulnerable population, of course. Our seniors have paved the way for us, so the least you can do is come back and take care of them.”

Seniors were able to choose their favorite colors and patterns.

“I feel that God created me for service,” Walker said. “He’s been instrumental in my life and He’s blessed me tremendously. Now I can be a pillar and bless other people.”

Donating the blankets helped the volunteers celebrate the holiday season, Alpha Omicron Zeta Chapter President Connie Portee said.

“Just to be able to come out and serve, it makes it even more festive during this season,” Portee said. “I’m just overjoyed and happy to be able to be here today.”

The PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Center at 153 Founders Court provides seniors with social interaction, catered meals, activities, a fully functioning clinic and an on-staff doctor and nurses during the day, facility Director Allie Kornegay said.

While many of the seniors who come to the facility live with their families, some reside in nursing homes or assisted care facilities, Kornegay said. PACE provides important opportunities for them to see new faces besides their caregivers.

The holidays can feel especially isolating for seniors who may not get to see their families often or at all, she said. Aside from the donations, volunteers can also help by visiting or adopting a grandparent, she said.

“Sometimes in the situation that they’re in, they don’t really remember who’s who, but just to have somebody come and visit, even if they do not recall who you are or they think that you might resemble somebody in their family, it means a lot to them just to have a visitor,” she said.

PACE currently has around 90 seniors participating in their services, with around 35 of them coming on different days throughout the week to the facility, Kornegay said.

Walker said she first began looking for a way to give back to PACE after the facility donated toiletries to stock the Tiffany Grant Foundation’s Blessing Boxes, which were announced in August. Walker said she approached her sorority sisters at Zeta Phi Beta to collaborate on the giveaway.

Walker is also an Orangeburg County Council member.

The volunteers from the Tiffany Grant Foundation and sorority said they will be looking for opportunities to help at PACE in the future.

“Of course we can’t help as many people as we like, but we try to make sure that we kind of triage situations and we try and do the best that we can to make sure that we bring a breath of fresh air to people in need,” Walker said.

Walker encouraged anyone to donate whatever they can – large or small – to others in their community.

“Things that we may not value or think is up to par, for someone else that may be what they’re actually looking for, so don’t rule anything out,” she said. “If you have it to give, just go ahead and do it because you may be blessing someone.”

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5553. Follow on Twitter: @bozardcaleb.

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