A giving season

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Residents of Emerald Heights who are members of the Wooden Toys for Charity group recently donated more than 800 handmade wooden toys to area charitable organizations to give to children.
Residents of Emerald Heights who are members of the Wooden Toys for Charity group recently donated more than 800 handmade wooden toys to area charitable organizations to give to children.

Senior living communities throughout the country are proving that the end-of-the-year holidays are a time of giving.

Toys made by residents of two Washington senior living communities are making the holidays a little brighter for area children.

In Redmond, WA, residents of not-for-profit life plan community Emerald Heights recently donated more than 800 handmade wooden playthings to Seattle Children's Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House and three other charities serving children in Seattle.

The Wooden Toys for Charity (pictured), a 12-member group created in 2014, used saws, sanders and other hand tools to create wooden cars, blocks, airplanes, tug boats, dinosaurs, baby doll cribs and other toys. Additionally, a crafts group at Emerald Heights supports the toymakers by creating cloth drawstring bags for each set of wooden blocks.

Dale Thompson, a resident at Emerald Heights, leads the charity group along with Mary Miele of Canyon Creek Cabinet Co., which donates five pallets of wood from which the toys are made each year.

Fifteen miles away in Issaquah, WA, 24 residents who are members of the Sawdusters of Timber Ridge at Talus life plan community made 300 wooden toys in their workshop and then donated them to Seattle Children's Hospital. It was the sixth year for the project.

Group members started in July and spent more than 100 hours making four types of toys from pine wood: race cars, Army Jeeps, pickup trucks and flatbed trucks. Senior adviser to the project was 90-year old resident Bill Weertman, who is secretary/treasurer of the Timber Ridge Sawdusters and has worked on every year's building effort.

Over the years, the group has made 1,567 toys for children who are or who have been patients at Seattle Children's Hospital. Each group member pays dues that support the project.

Pictured, from left: Bill Weertman, Bill Loken, John Anderson, John Keizur, Bill Selby, Bill Brown, Tom Way and Don Chaney.

Across the country in Greensburg, PA, it was healthcare organizations and their staffs who gave a present to Newhaven Court at Lindwood senior living community. Their generosity enabled the IntegraCare community to replace approximately 10 artificial Christmas trees that were damaged at this time last year when a sprinkler pipe burst, flooding much of the community and requiring the evacuation and temporary relocation of 57 residents.

“It's an amazing act of kindness and consideration, and it's meant so much to our residents and team,” Michael Monsour, director of sales and marketing at Newhaven Court at Lindwood, said of the new trees.

Organizations donating trees included ViaQuest Home Health & Hospice, AllStar Therapies, Excela Home Health, RNC SNF, Oak Hill Nursing and Rehab Center, Westmoreland Manor, Amedysis Hospice and Bridges Hospice.

Pictured: Newhaven Court at Lindwood Executive Director Lori Grant, left, stands by a Christmas tree donated by ViaQuest Home Health and Hospice. ViaQuest nurse Kevin Patterson, middle, and ViaQuest Regional Director Dina Mroz join Grant.

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