NEW PORT RICHEY — If age is a state of mind, then many residents at the Landings of St. Andrew are doing their utmost to defy the stereotypes of old age.
Volunteerism is a way of life for many people residing at the low-income, senior community on Sea Forest Drive, according to Kathryn project administrative assistant at the Landings.
In fact, resident Jeannine Capers has received a letter from President Barack Obama thanking her for more than 5,200 hours of volunteer service in the 10 years she has resided at the Landings.
She has plenty of company with a corps of some 33 active helpers, Long said.
They are inviting the public to their latest endeavor, a Health and Safety Fair, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, May 3.
The event will feature more than 45 exhibitors from national, regional and local health care and safety professionals. Visitors can get free screenings, health tests, demonstrations, giveaways, presentations and information. There will be live music, healthy food vendors and a bounce house for the children, Long said.
People at the Landings have given of themselves, their time, their talent and their own money to make a better life for the other residents, their families as well as in our surrounding community, Long said.
“It is hard to put into words the effect on morale and character it has on people who struggle with illness, disabilities, loss of spouses or even loss of children when they come to live here,” Long wrote in an email, where they find “an army of people who are laboring to present them with quality activities and entertainment.
In the past seven months alone, Long notes, the Volunteer Activities Committee at the Landings has organized an ice cream social, a baking contest, a 1950s-style sock hop, two pancake breakfasts, an outdoor carnival, a Halloween party and costume contest with prizes, a Veterans Day celebration, a garage sale, a Thanksgiving dinner, a caroling and cookies party//and There were also a formal Winter Wonderland dinner and dance, a New Years Eve Party, a charades party, a formal Cherry Jubilee Dinner and Dance, and a Goin’ Green St. Paddy’s Day Birthday Party, complete with a collection of recyclable items.
All of this was done in addition to the regular events, such as bingo, water aerobics, Bible study, book discussion group, garden club, line dancing classes, cooking classes, walking exercise group, birthday parties and much more.
For instance, volunteer residents lead the weekly Walkers and Talkers meetings to give mild exercises for those in walkers and wheelchairs or who use canes.
A reclusive, 86-year-old resident got a standing ovation for dancing the Peppermint Twist at a sock hop, Long recalls.
Two Ladies and a Cart, a group of ladies in their 70s, collect unwanted furniture from those who are moving or downsizing and then provide it free of charge to those who are moving in or those who are lacking things as basic as a bed or sofa.
During the past year, resident volunteers have donated more than 9,000 hours to assist others, Long emphasized.
Led by Landings manager Luis Rosario, the corps of volunteer helpers labor every single day to help others enjoy a better life, Long said.