Kendal Volunteering: Two Good Deeds, Indeed!

Written By: Karen Waters, KaLex Resident

cartoon volunteers celebrate.
People volunteering and donating money and items to a charitable cause

As summer draws to a close, traditions include returning to school and harvesting the fruits of our labors in the garden. It is a fitting time to look at what was accomplished this summer and to be thankful for the change in seasons.

I believe it is also a good time to appreciate the many Kendal at Lexington volunteers who make a difference. Volunteering is a special gift we give our communities and a way for retirees to use the skills they developed over time.

At KaLex our resident-driven committee structure allows ample opportunity for volunteering, and the Lexington/Rockbridge area offers many additional options.

Of note for your calendars, the Volunteer Fair, organized by Sylvia Kirgis and her committee, will be held on Friday, October 13, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Kendal Hall. About 18 local organizations plan to send representatives to provide information about a variety of volunteer opportunities.

Kendal resident Louise Tardy can hardly remember when she started volunteering. Growing up, her parents didn’t call it volunteering, but were constantly anticipating and answering the needs of the community, church, and school. In 2008, she, Rae Carpenter, and John Gunn organized the first volunteer fair at KaLex. She has volunteered as a reading coach for elementary-aged children, worked in the Hospital Auxiliary, and held state and local positions within the nursing profession. Louise has always loved sewing and when she heard an appeal from Church World Services to sew school bags, she took it to heart and began using her leftover drapery fabric. To date, Louise has sewn 5,000 (!) school bags, supplying them to children who have experienced disasters where they live, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

In the midst of chaos, the children are given stability, ensured by having school supplies (provided by local churches) in a school bag made for them. Louise reports that cutting out the pattern takes the most time since she tries to squeeze as many out of the fabric as possible. In 2023, the era of fabric stores seems to have ended, and fabric is increasingly hard to come by, but Louise has worked out solutions and intends to make even more bags.

KaLex resident Sue Piepho is another volunteer. Visitors frequently comment on our beautiful grounds. Did you know that volunteers from the Kendal Horticulture Committee along with other residents take charge of many of the beautiful gardens and planters that grace our landscape? Sue Piepho thought the garden by the South Entrance to Anderson needed improvement and she obtained approval from the Horticulture Committee to try her hand at it.

While the space is far from where Sue lives, she wanted the many apartment dwellers who had gardens in the past to be able to enjoy flowers now. Today some beautiful zinnias and a variety of perennials greet residents as they enter. Many residents have expressed their appreciation to Sue.

These are just two of the many KaLex volunteers, but we appreciate every one of them for making Kendal at Lexington a special place to live. Hope to see you at the Volunteer Fair!