Marlene CeragnoI met Marlene Ceragno through the group The Alliance for Senior Services, which Sir Junk is a member. One of the partners in our company had some unused absorbent products from a family member and was wondering what to do with them. We sent a blast email out to our friends at The Alliance for Senior Services and multiple people mentioned Marlene, The Brief Babe. We subsequently met Marlene at the JCC in Tenafly to deliver the briefs.

 

Meeting Marlene was an absolute pleasure, and seeing her dedication to helping seniors was inspiring. Seniors are often overlooked as a demographic that needs extra care and assistance and Marlene is doing everything in her power to change that. Instead of shying away from the stigma surrounding senior incontinence and adult absorbent products, Marlene tackles it head on, coining the name “The Brief Babe” and wearing it proudly as she continues to make a difference for seniors in Bergen County everyday!


  • What is your favorite place to travel?
    • Not much of a traveler, but really enjoyed Canada and Arizona
  • What is your favorite movie? Favorite actor/actress?
    • Currently Wonder and The Greatest Showman! Loved the movies and their messages. Julia Roberts
  • What is one thing you like about living in Bergen County?
    • I like the diversity of Bergen County. There is so much to learn from the different cultures in our county.
  • What is your favorite restaurant in the area?
    • Cheesecake factory:)
  • What are some interests/hobbies you have outside of your work?
    • I’m basically a home body; I enjoy reading, power walking, playing Words With Friends and suduko and just hanging with my family.
  • What is the story behind The Adult Care Brief Bank?
    • While taking care of my husband’s aunt who had outlived her money I realized that while I was able to get help from agencies such as Meals On Wheels, Bergen County CHEER and CHORE programs, there were no place that help provide adult absorbent products. When faced with the issue of her incontinence I was shocked to realize that she could not afford adult pull ups. Knowing she could not be the only one in this situation I decided to try to model the diaper banks that are around the country and create the Adult Care Brief Bank. I was going for my Master’s in Gerontology at the time so this became my thesis/ capstone project, which is still going strong over five years and over 120,000 items collected and distributed later.
  • How long have you worked with Seniors? What made you choose this particular demographic to work with/help?
    • I was working at the Kaplen JCC in the early childhood department when they asked if I could cover in the senior department one summer almost 10 years ago. It changed my world! While I gave my all to the kids they ultimately got more when they went home; mom, dad, siblings, babysitters. For some seniors the JCC is the only place they go. Since we provide transportation, breakfast, lunch and socialization they get to be with others and stay engaged in life. They appreciate everything! I feel that I get so much from them than I can give. They are a wealth of knowledge. They deserve our fresh ears to tell their stories to. They’ve worked hard and lived long lives which have allowed us to now build our own stories upon.
  • What is one of the biggest challenges of your work? What is one of the biggest rewards?
    • The biggest challenge is to get organizations to host drives, similar to food drives. There is stigma attached to these items, (hopefully being the Brief Babe I can be a part of changing that). Often times when agencies such as Meals On Wheels or the Center for Food Action ask for items I don’t have them available.
      The biggest reward is hearing stories like the one from Northern Valley Meals On Wheels this May. Someone asked the director if they had women’s pull-ups which thankfully they had her size. She said ‘oh thank goodness, now I can spend Mother’s Day with my family’. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
  • What is one thing about your organization that people might not know.
    • The organization is just me; the Brief Babe.
  • How exactly does the Brief Bank work? How can people get involved?
    • Agencies, companies, temples, churches, clubs host a drive; collect adult pull-ups for a month, week, during an event such as a networking meeting. They create a bin, I like to use a linen laundry cart on wheels, put balloons on them with pictures of products taped on, create a flier, a poster, send an email blast or put an announcement in the newsletter of the church, temple, organization, advertise on social media and the receptacle fills up. After the drive is over, the items get delivered to me at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly and then they get distributed through the Center for Food Action, several Meals On Wheels programs, Bergen County CHEER and other agencies that provides for seniors who are not eligible for Medicaid, (they provide the products), but cannot live on Social Security alone.

      I get a lot of my products from families of loved ones who have passed away so if you know anyone who has unused, unopened, no longer needed absorbent products, please don’t let them throw them out. Reach out to me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/adultcarebrief. You can ideas about hosting a drive there as well.

  • If you needed to get a garage cleaned out, who would you call? SIR JUNK or Yosemite Sam…and Yosemite Sam is out mountain climbing.
    • SIR JUNK for sure!

Thanks,

Marlene~ the Brief Babe
www.facebook.com/adultcarebrief

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