Seniors Providing Charity

One of the many great things about charity - giving back to society - is that it can be the beginning of friendships and community. That's exactly what happened inside two Ontario retirement homes.

At Claremont retirement residence in Toronto, 'It's been a riot'

Glamour is never easy-especially at 96. Just ask Leah Chaplin.

The idea for The Claremont Girls 2006 Calendar was Lynne Webster's. Lynne, executive director of The Claremont retirement residence in Toronto, thought it would be fun for "the girls" to pose for a calendar that would be sold in aid of charity.

She and "the girls" used photographs of Hollywood movie stars like Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn for inspiration. That's how Leah Chaplin, the senior girl, slipped into a little strapless cotton sun dress and gloves meant to evoke Grace Kelly zipping around Monaco in a convertible. She would be Miss August.

Only the shoot was not in Monaco in August. "It was a cold, rainy morning last September or October at the beach," Leah recalls.

"We cocooned her in winter coats," Lynn says. "We had the car radio on and the heater blasting and we sat her on two telephone books."

The calendar-in aid of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-has been a great success, with sales of more than 2,000, some of them now hanging in police stations and fire halls.

"It's really been a riot," says Leah, who was once a model. "I am very happy they asked me to do it." - Frank Jones

Lynwood Park Lodge in Nepean is 'a close knit community'

When you're away from home, and not feeling very well, it's always nice to have something to snuggle up to.

At Lynwood Park Lodge in Nepean, Ontario, 15 women have spent the past year knitting blankets for Project Linus at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). (Project Linus is a volunteer, non-profit organization that provides new, homemade blankets to seriously ill or traumatized children. To date, it has delivered more than 673,000 security blankets to children around the world.) The blankets from the ladies at Lynwood, which are handed out to CHEO's young patients, are made with donated yarn or yarn purchased with money earned from selling raffle tickets. Group leader Catherine Lytle says so far knitters have made about 100 blankets.

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You can read more about Lynwood Park Lodge and many other Ottawa retirement Homes.

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