Personal care items and clothing, which included such essentials as hats, gloves, towels, toothbrushes, deodorant and lip balm, were donated by residents, families and staff members for the third consecutive year.

“Our assisted living residents wanted to find a way to give back to the community, especially to our veterans,” explains Yari Velez, executive director of Cohen, Florence, Levine Estates. “We felt that it’s vital to pay tribute to the men and women who courageously serve our country. It is our hope that these donations capture the spirit of the holidays and the season of giving.”

The drive also marked a very special collaboration with Melissa Rabideau Garvin, founder of So Sexy Garvin, a team that honors Melissa’s late husband, Lance Corporal Edward Garvin. Eddy, as he was known to family and friends, was killed in Iraq 13 years ago. He had only been in Iraq for 28 days when he lost his life. Melissa, who met Eddy when she was 7 years old, wanted to honor Eddy’s memory by collecting donations for homeless veterans during the holiday season. She started sending boxes overseas when Eddy was first deployed and has continued to send packages to the troops, as well as distribute a huge number of goods on a local level. The items collected by both the residents and Melissa were donated to the New England Center and Home for Veterans in Boston.

Ottavia Turner, a resident at Cohen Florence Levine Estates, was excited to participate in the collection drive. In fact, she solicited donations from her entire family, including children, grandchildren and cousins. As Ottavia said, “We want to express our gratitude to our nation’s heroes who have so bravely served this country.”

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