Making a big difference from ‘small potatoes’

(from the left) Ladies of the Man­or, An­gela M. Zun­golo, Polly Guer­in, Helen Cis­ner­os, Jo­hanna Balk­ie, and Bar­bara Clip­pinger at a monthly meet­ing at Wes­ley En­hanced Liv­ing Pennypack. The group raises money for loc­al or­gan­izaions, En­hanced Liv­ing, and fel­low neigh­bors in need, Fri­day, Ju­ly 20, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Rhoda Levy and the Ladies of the Man­or don’t sit around all day on rock­ing chairs.

The seni­or cit­izen res­id­ents of Wes­ley En­hanced Liv­ing-Pennypack Park, at 8401 Roosevelt Blvd., have spent the last six years en­ga­ging in count­less char­it­able en­deavors.

“Some people think people at re­tire­ment homes don’t do any­thing,” Rhoda said. “But it’s amaz­ing all the ef­forts for good go­ing on.”

The Ladies of the Man­or formed in Au­gust 2006, back when the fa­cil­ity was known as Evan­gel­ic­al Man­or.

The wo­men meet monthly. Mem­ber­ship is about two dozen.

Money is raised dur­ing a weekly ho­agie sale in the din­ing room. Mari­nucci’s Deli in West May­fair de­liv­ers them and charges $4 per ho­agie. They sell for $5 at WEL-Pennypack Park.

“Tues­day is ho­agie day. Wheth­er you want to buy them or not, you buy them,” said Bar­bara Clip­pinger, the col­or­ful chair­wo­man of the Ladies group who tar­gets staff, res­id­ents, po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees and “un­sus­pect­ing vis­it­ors.”

Dari Lo­gan, res­id­ent life ser­vices man­ager, re­mem­bers meet­ing Clip­pinger on her first day on the job.

“I wasn’t here ten minutes, and she said, ‘Who are you, and what kind of ho­agie do you want?’” she re­called.

Over the years, the wo­men have raised a few thou­sand dol­lars.

“It’s small pota­toes, but we like to think it makes a dif­fer­ence,” said Clip­pinger, who plans to pub­lish and sell a cook­book filled with re­cipes to add to the cof­fers.

The wo­men have made quite a dif­fer­ence loc­ally, na­tion­ally and glob­ally.

Since some say char­ity starts at home, their first pro­ject was to add dec­or­a­tions to the cam­pus gift shop. They also se­cured bookends for the lib­rary, give jig­saw puzzles to fel­low res­id­ents, pur­chase mu­sic for the bell choir and send greet­ing cards to one an­oth­er on spe­cial oc­ca­sions. And they have a little jar in the gift shop for dona­tions to a be­ne­vol­ent care fund for res­id­ents.

“I think that’s a worth­while char­ity,” said An­gela Zun­golo.

The wo­men knit scarves and col­lect cal­en­dars for the Sea­men’s Church In­sti­tute, Fifth and Spring Garden streets, for dis­tri­bu­tion to sea­farers. Those scarves can come in handy dur­ing a cold night in Decem­ber in the North At­lantic.

“It makes us feel good that they’re used by someone,” said Mary Pet­rone.

They’ve helped Holmes­burg United Meth­od­ist Church’s com­munity out­reach by donat­ing cloth­ing to its thrift shop and food for its soup kit­chen. And they plan to team with the Re­tired and Seni­or Vo­lun­teer Pro­gram to be­come pen pals with stu­dents from a loc­al school.

They’ve con­trib­uted to Heifer In­ter­na­tion­al’s anti-hun­ger and poverty ef­forts. And they’ve sent money to or­gan­iz­a­tions that ar­range sur­ger­ies for people with cleft lips.

When tens of thou­sands of people were killed in an earth­quake in Haiti in Janu­ary 2010 and 158 people died in May 2011 in a tor­nado in Joplin, Mo., the wo­men sent dona­tions.

Oth­er en­deavors have in­cluded knit­ting sweat­ers for needy chil­dren and sup­port­ing a bake sale and walk to be­ne­fit a mul­tiple scler­osis char­ity.

The wo­men take pride in their work.

“It’s very, very re­ward­ing,” said Lynn Katzmar.

All of the hard work has cre­ated friend­ships among the wo­men.

“It gives us a chance to get to­geth­er,” said Frances Fee.

Lo­gan, the res­id­ent life ser­vices man­ager, watches and listens as the wo­men sit around a large table, build­ing ca­marader­ie and plan­ning their next big ef­fort.

“They do great work, they truly do,” she said.

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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