Back in 1988, singers Annie Lennox and Al Green released the chart-topping hit, Put a Little Love in Your Heart. Still relevant today, the song could be a mission statement for the Rotary Club of St. Albert’s latest project – Hearts for Seniors.
Simply put, the Rotarians’ community services committee is sending every senior registered at Citadel Mews, and other St. Albert seniors' residences and care centres, a personalized, hand-crafted heart attached to a handwritten note.
“After the Citadel Mews fire, we wanted to show support for all the displaced seniors,” said committee member Sandra Fenton. “We came up with the idea of handwritten notes with hearts to show we cared, and expanded it to all seniors' facilities in St. Albert. We recognize how tough the last 16 to 18 months have been for them.”
Eager volunteers dusted off sewing machines, knitting needles, and crochet hooks to create delicate, palm-sized hearts from diverse fabrics, yarns, and crochet threads. To give them a three-dimensional look, the hearts are stuffed with a synthetic poly-fill material.
The accompanying notes with each heart feature a mosaic image created by St. Albert visual artist Lewis Lavoie.
Fenton said that, for the club’s 25th anniversary, Lavoie was commissioned to create a mosaic containing 25 tiles of Rotary images.
“When it was put together, it made a picture of Rotary’s goal to eradicate polio internationally, and Lewis gave us the rights to replicate the mosaic for Rotary purposes.”
The mosaic image was reproduced on 10-centimetre-by-10-centimetre note sheets. While many Rotarians have stepped up to pen well-wishes on each of the notes, fewer committee members are skilled at crafting hearts.
“We need volunteer crafters who can sew, crochet, or knit. If you don’t have patterns or materials, we can provide them as well.”
The crafting team has already sent 68 hearts to seniors at Citadel Mews.
Jennifer McCurdy, who is in charge of deliveries, said, “A lot of the seniors at Citadel were displaced by the fire and moved to a new location. They will still get hearts. Christenson Communities and the committee are keen on making sure everyone gets one.”
Within the next two weeks, McCurdy said, the committee is planning to send another 150 to Homeland Housing’s two residences – Chateau Mission Court and North Ridge Place. In total, more than 500 hearts will be distributed by the project’s completion.
“If anyone wants to make sure a group is included, they can get in touch with Rotary at www.stalbertrotaryclub.com.
For Fenton, this is one project that truly speaks to the heart.
“It’s a small thing we can do, but we hope it will bring a bit of joy.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer their crafting skills at Hearts for Seniors is encouraged to email Fenton at [email protected].