FAIRFIELD — Mission Solano’s Ron Marlette likens Barbara Marianno to the Energizer bunny – of the battery commercial fame.
Marianno even plays the part of the Easter bunny. Sshe distributed stuffed animals Friday to local shelters and nonprofit organizations that help those in need. She also visited homeless camps.
Marianno doesn’t think she’s missed an Easter in the 43 years she’s been doing this.
She works independently under the name of Helping Hands. The lifelong Fairfield resident, who has lived in the same house for almost 60 years, uses her own money to purchase the items she donates.
Seated at her kitchen table Wednesday afternoon, Marianno was getting ready to sort through more than 150 stuffed animals in various sizes and shapes. She had some favorites in the group, often picking one up and smiling.
Mission Solano is one of the recipients of her hard work.
“She has a compassionate heart,” Marlette said. “She doesn’t care about getting the credit. She’s always thinking about other people.”
Child Haven is another recipient. A past board member of the organization, Marianno attends the holiday luncheons, bringing along friends to help support the agency, said Jane Johnson, Child Haven’s executive director.
“Barbara is such a generous donor, always checking to see if we need donations for the children we serve,” Johnson said in an email to the Daily Republic. “She brings toys during the holidays and stuffed bunnies at Easter.”
It’s volunteers such as Marianno who help Child Haven stay focused on its mission of treating abused and neglected children, Johnson wrote.
Marianno also collects items for the homeless – blankets, tarps and pup tents being the most popular. She saw a couple earlier this week that she knew to be homeless. Marianno asked them what they needed. She fulfilled their request by giving them her own blanket, she said.
She started helping those in need in 1970.
“There are so many people who need to be helped,” Marianno said.
And she loves doing it.
“I think it’s important,” she said.
While she does the physical work, Marianno said it’s God who keeps her going. Every day she wakes up, she feels she’s been given another day to help, she said.
The former Armijo High School teacher is the mother of two daughters, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of three.
She has no plans to slow down as she approaches 80.
“It’s not much,” she said of her efforts. “I give what I can.”
For information on helping Marianno, call 422-2389.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.