The Birches Gives Back and Gives Thanks

Residents and staff at The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. gave back to the community throughout the month of November by participating in two fundraisers and creating blankets for children in need through the Linus Project.

Clarendon Hills, IL, December 01, 2015 --( Although Thanksgiving is best known as a time of year to give thanks, it is also the perfect time of year to give back— and the Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. spent the month of November doing just that. Birches staff and residents participated in two fundraisers and worked with families from Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills to make blankets for children in need through the Linus Project.

At the beginning of November, The Birches began selling raffle tickets for its first ever Honey Raffle in which 44 lucky winners walked away with a two-ounce jar of honey from the Birches’ hives. The proceeds from the Honey Raffle were donated to the Richmond Education Gardens and Apiary, a project undertaken by volunteers from the Village of Clarendon Hills who wish to turn .15 acre of unused public land into an apiary and education gardens filled with native vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, wildflowers, butterfly, wall and rain gardens, and a space for an open classroom.

Since this is the first year The Birches itself has maintained beehives and harvested honey, Executive Director Jackie Foss thought it was important to support and bring attention to the Village’s effort in local food production and education.

“I think this project will really help people understand the environmental and health benefits of local food,” said Foss. “It’s going to be a great educational resource for the community of Clarendon Hills and surrounding communities.”

Additionally, for the second year in a row, Birches residents participated in the Bingo with Bertha fundraiser to raise money for the People’s Resource Center, a nonprofit which provides support to DuPage County residents through its food pantry, emergency rent and mortgage assistance, job assistance, literacy program and other community resources.

Bingo with Bertha began last year when Birches’ Occupational Therapist Julia Rodriguez was inspired to collect bingo change from Birches residents to donate to the People’s Resource Center. Before she knew it, Birches residents were eagerly helping her create Bertha, a fundraising turkey to hold donations, and signing up for a Bingo session that required a $5 donation for admission. This year The Birches raised $200 for People’s Resource Center.

“I thought it was an ideal event for this time of year. Everybody had fun and enjoyed giving to people who need help,” said Darcy Kelleher, a Birches resident who helped create Bertha last year.

Most recently, on Saturday, November 21, Birches residents spent time making blankets with families from Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills for Project Linus, which delivers blankets to children in hospitals, shelters and social service agencies. This service project not only helped children stay warm and comforted but also facilitated intergenerational bonding between young volunteers, their parents and the older adults that live at The Birches.

“All of the children that volunteer tell me that they feel like they have a special place here, and they want to come back," said Activities Director Katie Klitchman. “A lot of them do come back year after year, and I understand's like having 30 extra grandparents!”

Although philanthropic activities are a part of The Birches’ mission year-round, Executive Director Jackie Foss admits that this has been an especially charitable month for the Birches community.

“This is a great way to kick off the holiday season,” said Foss. “I love seeing residents and staff so involved in helping others and giving back to the local community. It’s the perfect reminder of what’s really important this time of year.”

The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135 or visit:
The Birches Assisted Living
Jenny Smiechowski