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 firstname.lastname@example.org