The residents of Casa Mariposa, a CHR (Community Housing and Resources) property across from St. Michael’s Church on Periwinkle, needed help in spreading mulch around their building’s welcoming sign and in the beautiful butterfly garden that volunteers from Blades Tree Service, with the help of residents, had dug out a year earlier. Upkeep is always the challenge, and by this March the garden was overgrown, unwanted vegetation obscuring, for example, the hanging staghorn ferns.
Help arrived on a recent Saturday morning in the form of Zonta volunteers Robyn Moran, Kris Ritts, Sally Ennis, Joyce Craig, Nancy Dreher, and Carolyn Tongyai and her six-year-old son Scotty. The project was the idea of Zonta President Moran and she enlisted the others. “I’ve helped garden there before,” says Moran. “CHR has long been a passion of mine, and Casa Mariposa is a delightful environment that we are happy to help enhance.”
In addition, Casa Mariposa resident Alison Ward spearheaded a team of CHR volunteers and residents Janet Scully, Ted Dormann, and Ben Binkowski. Blades Tree Service, who donated the mulch, is committed to giving back to the Sanibel-Captiva community; at least 5% of its labor goes to assist those who need a helping hand. Blades employees Taylor Maze, Jacob Maze, and “Just Jake” stayed on to help haul and spread.
By 10:00 a.m, the work was complete, thanks to the many helping hands. It was a “short, cheerful hour,” according to Zontian Kris Ritts.
Sally Ennis agrees. “The garden looked beautiful, and we had a great time.” Zontian Nancy Dreher sums up: “We all understand giving back and making a space for the elderly that is truly beautiful.”
CHR executive director Kelly Collini is grateful to Zonta, whose members regularly volunteer for projects that help CHR residents and staff. “Residents take pride in their homes and we appreciate that,” says Collini, “but maintaining island properties is a never-ending process! There’s always more work to be done. When everyone pitches in, it makes all the difference.”
The Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva is a service organization of professional women working together to provide hands-on assistance, advocacy, and funds to strengthen women’s lives on the islands, in Lee County, and around the world through Zonta International. CHR’s Casa Mariposa is an especially appropriate service opportunity for Zontians because its residents include older women, some of them in their nineties and one over 100.