This Woman Won All of Oprah's Favorite Things—and Then Gave Them All Away

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She Won and Gave Away Oprah’s Favorite ThingsCourtesy of Tricia O’Neill Politte - Hearst Owned

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine winning the lottery. That’s probably not a new daydream, but we’re not talking about the cash kind. We’re talking about the most incredible spread of gifts you could imagine—each and every one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. That would be 104 items total, to be exact. There would be something for every facet of your life, from a luxurious coffee machine and stylish-and-cozy clothing to delicious delights and toys to dazzle children. Now envision giving it all away. That’s exactly what retired public school teacher Tricia O’Neill Politte decided to do.

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The staff at Sunrise Senior Living open their gifts, donated by Politte.Hearst Owned

Each year, team Oprah Daily hosts a sweepstakes to give away every Favorite Thing to a few lucky individuals. When Politte got the news that she’d won the 2022 sweepstakes, like many winners, she didn’t believe it. “When I read the email, my first thought was Scam! After all, it was the Christmas scamming season,” says Politte. “But after a few emails and a phone call, I knew this was the real deal.” Once that was settled, she didn’t start making space at home for her spoils. Instead, Politte began planning how she would tell her favorite folks at Sunrise Senior Living in Alexandria, Virginia, the facility where her mom had resided, that they were the lucky recipients of Oprah’s favorite finds.

Politte’s mom, Mary Evelyn O’Neill Pineault, had suffered from dementia. At first Politte moved her into Sunrise thinking she would just need a little assistance, but within three months, she needed to be moved to the memory care unit when she couldn’t find her way to the dining room. Politte’s mom had always been very independent, so naturally this shift didn’t come easily. But the caregivers at the facility softened the transition with their kindness and patience.

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It’s a presents party at Sunrise! Center: Menbere Workneh. Left to right: Catherin Owusu, Candice Ellis, and Hannah Drexler.Hearst Owned

Esther would laugh and sing to Mary Evelyn and tell her everything would be okay, fussing and cussing aside. Thomas was willing to bring lunch to her room and then swiftly clean up afterward. Gladys and Catherine were always smiling and helping Politte retrieve any missing items. Politte appreciated all of them, and in gratitude, she would often bring goodie bags. So when she won the jackpot of Oprah’s Favorite Things, Politte decided to share the love with all the incredible caregivers that went above and beyond for her mom.

It’s been a couple of years since Mary Evelyn passed away, but the Sunrise staff has remained in Politte's heart—and this was an unexpected and unforgettable thank you. Every present came gift wrapped, and all the staffers at Sunrise opened their presents together. “It all became real when those tons of boxes came by FedEx, and it was so much fun to watch. The reaction of the staff was pure happiness,” says Politte.

The entire care staff received multiple gifts and Politte even took home a pizza cutter. “I feel so thankful to be recognized," says Menbere Workneh, a caregiver at Sunrise Senior Living. “There were so many of us who felt appreciated receiving these gifts," Esther Fialor, who's been with Sunrise since 2006, tells us. "My daughter got sparkling gloves and she loves them. Thank you Oprah!" It was all Politte's pleasure—and honor. “This was not the first time I gave them gifts—but it definitely was the best time.”

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