Photo courtesy of Sue Eaton, Activity Director and Enrichment Coordinator at Fernwood.
Residents of Fernwood at the Park prepare 300 sandwiches for St. Marin de Porre Men’s shelter.

Fernwood at the Park residents gives back to the community in a special way

Seniors helping seniors

By: Betty Rose Cortes

Every third or fourth Wednesday of the month, Normandy Park residents at Fernwood at the Park turn their “Fieldtrip Day” into a “Giving Day” by extending a generous gesture to the residents at St. Martin de Porre Men’s Shelter on Alaskan Way in Seattle.

Since June, the senior residents have dedicate their last Wednesday of the month to making 300 sandwiches for the shelter, which provides warm meals, clothing and housing for homeless men 50 and older. For the residents, this is just an added bonus to their already fun-filled Wednesday schedule.

“It is a lot of fun and it went by very quickly,” Fernwood resident Nancy Reddekopp said, “It’s a good time to be social, too.”

Sue Eaton, Activity Director and Enrichment Coordinator for Fernwood at the Park, began the monthly activity for the residents with their intentions to give back to the community. The number of residents who take part of the sandwich making have risen since the start in June. In fact, in July, nearly 25 residents offered their hands to help and it took them just 45 minutes to make 300 egg salad, tuna salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“We’re very experienced with making sandwiches for our children,” joked resident Pat Jensen.

“We have a lot of fun,” Eaton said, “Everybody works together and we laugh a lot in there.”

Having previously donated to the shelter in the past, Eaton initially brought the idea up to the residents expecting just a few hands to help for the task.

“I expected maybe five people,” Eaton said, “but we had a record this month. It’s nice to see that some people might have arthritis or might not see too well, but they want to help.”

The residents are not the only contributors to the sandwich making. Fernwood’s Chef sometimes donates supplies and Franz bread gives Eaton a good deal on loaves of bread.

And nothing goes to waste.

“We save the ends (of loaves) for her daughter’s chickens,” Eaton said, pointing to a resident.

So what do the residents think the best part of sandwich making for a cause is?

“It’s the only activity where we don’t eat!” joked resident Kathleen Pooley in reference to the coffee, tea and donuts offered during daily activities at the Fernwood.

“We have so much fun just working together and chatting,” said four year resident Betty Markworth.

“During the day, the shelter gives men sandwiches,” Eaton said, “Some might not be homeless, but hit by hard times and are hungry, so it’s nice to help out.”

Last month, Fernwood donated Turkey and Ham sandwiches. Next month, they are looking to make chicken salad and are expecting more hands from the retirement home to help in the sandwich making process.

“I can hardly wait til next month!” said Pooley.

Eaton and other resident share the same sentiment and are looking forward to giving back to the community in their monthly giving to St. Martin de Porre Men’s Shelter.

If you would like to learn more about Fernwood’s sandwich giving or donate supplies, you can contact Sue Eaton at 206-242-1455. To learn how you can donate to St. Martin de Porre Men’s Shleter call (206) 323-6336.