Elders exhibit creativity and generosity at Iroquois Lodge craft bazaar

OHSWEKEN – The Iroquois Lodge opened its doors on Saturday, November 5 for the Annual Craft Bazaar, with the hopes of providing gift opportunities for visitors.

Not only did the bazaar showcase talented vendors, it also featured items for sale that were created by Iroquois Lodge residents, and a raffle table packed with toys and gift items.

Acting Activities Supervisor Dawn Russell explained that all proceeds from the raffle would go into programming. Some of the lodge’s current programming enables many of the residents to make the crafts featured at the bazaar. “From the raffle itself, both residents and staff benefit from it, and the bazaar proceeds are definitely going back into residents’ activities,” said Russell.

“This is a year’s work in progress – the bird houses, the tool boxes, there’s recipe books that have been [worked on] throughout the whole year, fleece blankets, the knitting products. Some have been donated but the bulk of the stuff was done in house here” she said.

Russell explained that there is a knitting circle at the lodge that produces the knitted items for the bazaar, and an elder from Brantford comes in to mentor the circle.

“They have done a great job with the knitting, they wanted to get out the knitting during the summer season and they started a quilt,” she said, adding that the quilt is the first item they raffled off.

In addition to providing elders with the opportunity to get creative, the bazaar also gives back to the community by donating any left over products. “What’s left over, we don’t pack it away and keep it for next year.

We start fresh, so the knitted goods will be donated, and we take them to Ganohkwasra,” she said. “The smaller stuff, the finer detailed things are going to newborn babies, so we keep them separate,” she said, opening a large bin full of newborn baby hats which were made by the residents.

“We’ll call the Birthing Centre and let them know we’ll be taking these up there,” she said, explaining that they had done the same last year. Russell said that there may be a possibility throughout the coming year to hold another bazaar. “This one they do on an annual basis, always on the first Saturday of December as far as the Christmas crafts,” she said. “What they’ve done in the past is a sale in the summertime, a Christmas in July,” she said.

The bazaar is a great way to showcase the work and energy of residents at the lodge, who still have a lot to offer the community, Russell says. “The greatest thing is that we try to promote that our people can still do, just because they’ve come into the nursing home doesn’t mean that they’re sitting and doing nothing.

They’re still active, they’re still giving, they’re still able,” she said. The raffle table will continue until December 18, even after hours, and another hand-made raffle blanket will be drawn along with the other prizes.

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