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Local woman uses small toys to break ice

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WESTFIELD It is cold weather out there but the visits from Florence Warriner to the Samaritan Inn keep things pleasant for the staff and residents.

Warriner, residing in Southwick, has been volunteering at the Samaritan Inn for three years.

"I knew about the place because our church had made donations here and one day I was stopped at the traffic light and I decided to come in. The people here were so pleasant and they took me around the place and I've been coming back here ever since. I have met some lovely people here," she added.

Warriner whose car is easily recognized by residents who anticipate her arrival, comes on Tuesdays with her bags of crowd pleasers. Since she has been coming to the Inn she has given out between 500-600 toys. They are little stuffed animals that vary in all sizes and colors. She calls them small pocket pals because they [residents] can keep them in their pocket. She said many residents give them to family members.

"It is fun. It gives me something to do," she said. "And its been appreciated."

Warriner buys a great portion of the toys from the Salvation Army and the thrift stores. She added that numerous people have made donations to her as well. "It has become sort of a project," she said and added that she usually brings about 20 toys per trip.

Warriner, president of the Southwick Women's Club, began living in Southwick in the early 1950's upon marrying a Navy man. She is originally from Wisconsin..

"One thing led to another and I got involved. I keep an eye on what is going on." she said. "Hopefully it will inspire other people to do the same."