Chelsea woman spreads giving spirit for Christmas

Published 5:10 pm Friday, December 3, 2010

By KATIE HURST/ Lifestyles Editor

CHELSEA — After hosting the first Christmas party in her newly built house 13 years ago, Sherry Pouncey of Chelsea said she felt the holiday cheer and gift swap with friends wasn’t enough.

“I kind of thought it was silly for us to bring a gift for each other when there’s so much more we can do,” she said.

The next year, Pouncey dedicated her annual Christmas brunch to helping others and has continued the tradition for 13 years, spreading the giving spirit throughout her community.

Every year, Pouncey invites her same group of friends to the brunch, she said. She now calls them the “brunch bunch.” She asks each guest to bring a covered dish and a donation for a designated organization.

For the first nine years, Pouncey and her guests adopted residents of local nursing homes that were in need of gifts and basic necessities.

“When I was growing up, my grandmother was a dietitian in a nursing home,” Pouncey said. “So I was going to nursing homes year-round visiting with old folks if I wanted to or not. The donations mean a lot to them. There are a lot of people that just don’t have basic necessities.”

Pouncey said her guests’ giving spirit surprises her every year. One year, a woman from a nursing home requested a shower cap decorated with specific colored flowers.

“No one could find one anywhere,” Pouncey said. “So a friend of mine made one. She sewed the flowers on herself.”

For the past several years, Pouncey has requested the group bring gifts for women and children in programs at King’s Home and Jesse’s Place, both non-profit organizations serving abused and homeless women.

“Lots of people don’t have family, don’t have the basic necessities of life, which can make Christmas hard for people,” she said.

Many people donate gifts even if they can’t make it to the brunch that year, Pouncey said.

“That’s all I care about,” she said. “It’s more fun the next week when I make my children carry the bags into the organizations and see the difference they can make for someone else.”

Pouncey said she never imagined the brunch would grow into something that helps so many people. She said she encourages others in the community to consider gathering donations for those less fortunate this holiday season.
“A group of women formed a little Christmas brunch and it just kind of grew into something phenomenal,” she said. “A lot of people, we just don’t stop and think how blessed we are. There’s always something someone can do. If you don’t have the money to write a check, you can organize something.”