AARP Chapter donates lap robes to Throgs Neck Extended Care residents

(l-r) Gerardi, Fornal, Filomena Coppola, Florence Focareli and Lillian Dalton.
Photo by Bill Weisbrod

The residents at Throgs Neck Extended Care Facility got some early Christmas gifts, courtesy of a local AARP chapter.

Jerry Gerardi and Barbara Fornal of AARP Throggs Neck Chapter 603 stopped by the nursing home on the morning of Friday, December 2 to deliver 50 handmade lap robes to its denizens. The chapter has been doing the annual donations to area seniors for the past 15 years. This year marked the second time it has made the presentation to TNEC.

“It’s somethingthe seniors can use,” Gerardi said about why the chapter donates lap robes. “As you get older, often you feel colder. This is a project of love.”

The lap robes are crocheted blankets that can be worn while sitting down. They come in handy for the TNEC residents because many are wheelchair bound. Each was crocheted by a member of the AARP chapter. Gerardi said the donations exemplify the spirit of the national organization.

“It’s part of the AARP model,” he said. “We try to do different projects like this throughout the year.”

Liliana Martusevici, director of recreation at TNECF, said the lap robe donation marked the beginning of the Christmas-season gift giving at the nursing home.

“I think it’s really the first gift of the holidays,” she said.

Martusevici said she expects the surrounding neighborhood to be as generous as previous years.

“We get a lot,” she said. “Several local groups and schools bring gifts and cards for our clients. This is the first one this year, and it really gets (residents) in the holiday spirit. We’re very grateful to the community for thinking of us.”

And neither the staff, nor the residents take that generosity for granted.

“It’s very important to them,” she said.

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

More from Around NYC