Bucks County Herald

Wrapping Presence founder Dietterich to be honored

Women’s History Month celebration March 23 in Doylestown

CONNIE WRZESNIEWSKI



Marne Dietterich, center, will be honored with the Women’s History Month Award. Anne Yarnall is at left and a nursing home resident is at right.

Marne Dietterich, founder of Wrapping Presence, will receive the Bucks County Women’s History Month Award this year.

The award is presented to a Bucks County woman who exemplifies the social, intellectual and creative contributions women have made to the future and quality of life for Bucks County residents. This year, the committee is proud to celebrate Marne Kies Dietterich as its honoree.

Dietterich comes to Bucks County from Illinois by way of Vermont where she attended the International School of Training, achieving two masters degrees in social work. Following graduation, she immediately went to work as the youngest caseworker at Pearl S. Buck’s Welcome House interning in the Philippines. She still remains close with “her babies, her families, her kids” attending weddings, baptisms and the like.

Dietterich founded the nonprofit agency, Wrapping Presence, 23 years ago. The idea for it came to her from her parents who resided in a nursing home in Lake Forest, Ill. Both parents remarked that they wished they could choose their own presents for each other rather than giving gifts their daughter had purchased.

Marne took her idea to a Doylestown nursing home, bringing a small selection of presents she had purchased for residents to select and give to loved ones. Choosing their own gifts helped the residents regain their sense of independence.

Today, Wrapping Presence serves more than 1,000 residents living in 20 Delaware Valley nursing homes and Veterans Administration facilities. More than 700 caring volunteers work with the project.

At holiday time the organization visits homes within a 30-mile radius of Doylestown in 18 days allowing for residents with physical limitations the ability to celebrate the holidays hands on, “the way they used to,” Marne says.

“We have volunteers with hearts as big as the sky and very active hands. I have volunteered a lot but never met volunteers like this. We are surrounded by the best.”

The Bucks County Women’s History Award is sponsored by 14 agencies and organizations that promote community dialogue or issues impacting women in Bucks County.

“It is rare that three separate organizations nominate the same person for the Bucks County Women’s History Award, but that’s exactly what happened this year,” said Kathleen Lewis Horwatt, chair of this year’s award committee. “We’re thrilled to be honoring Marne as a fantastic community volunteer and founder of such an impactful nonprofit.”

The Women’s History Month ceremony marks an evening of community celebration and inspiration for all of Bucks County during National Women’s History Month.

The ceremony and reception is Thursday, March 23, at the James-Lorah Memorial Home Auditorium, 132 Main St., Doylestown. The evening opens with refreshments at 5:45 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. A tour of the James-Lorah House will be offered prior to the ceremony at 5:15 p.m.

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