From bottle cap benches to a friendship garden, it’s Good Projects time at Grace Ridge

It’s no easy (or tidy) task spending 100-plus hours sifting and sorting through bags stuffed with thousands of plastic caps from sodas, laundry detergent bottles, coffee cans and peanut butter jars, but when the end result is three new “green” benches for deaf and blind seniors, it’s an undertaking that’s truly gratifying. Last year, Grace Ridge spearheaded a Community Bottle Cap Project and teamed up with Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, Simply Green Recycling Service and Robert L. Patton High School to collect plastic bottle caps and promote the importance of recycling. “We wanted to collect enough bottle caps to make a recycled bench for the Alder Springs Senior Deaf and Blind Community,” said Evelyn Beaver, life enrichment director. “We had an unbelievable response from the community – all over western North Carolina – and ended up collecting enough to make three benches. It’s a great example of true community spirit.” Once volunteers sorted the 1,200-plus pounds of bottle caps and loaded them into the Grace Ridge van, Evelyn and co-worker Wanda Miller made the 500-mile trek to Evansville, Ind., where the caps were repurposed into benches at Green Tree Plastics. On Dec. 18, Grace Ridge staff presented three green benches – tied with a red bow – to representatives from North Carolina School for the Deaf at Morganton Foundation and the Senior Deaf & Blind Community. Board Chairman Jerry Norvell gratefully accepted the benches and promised they will be put to good use when the new community opens early next year. “What an incredibly creative way for Grace Ridge residents to add quality of life for their peers...

Good Deeds: Kindness and volunteerism are bountiful at Grace Ridge

Whether it’s coloring a card for a hometown soldier, stuffing a backpack with food for hungry children or loading a stocking full of games and puzzles for hospice patients, the opportunities to perform Good Deeds are plentiful at Grace Ridge this holiday season. With the fourth quarter Well4Life rewards program focusing on volunteerism and community relations, it’s a chance for residents and staff to share kindness with people in the community who are less fortunate. “This is a time of year when there are so many needs in our community,” said Evelyn Beaver, director of life enrichment. “We wanted to offer different projects that would be meaningful for our residents and allow them to lend a hand in areas they are passionate about.” Not all activities require a financial commitment, allowing residents and staff of all income levels to participate. Some plan to roll up their sleeves and help prepare food for the homeless at The Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry at Burke United Christian Ministries, while others will fill backpacks with beans, rice and peanut butter for hungry children through the Backpack Ministry at Grace Episcopal Church. For The Meeting Place Mission, volunteers will make travel kits – zip-close bags filled with hotel-sized shampoo, soap and lotion. Meanwhile, other residents and staff are donating basic medical supplies, like aspirin and anti-itch cream, for Dr. William Johanson’s upcoming Health Teams International mission trip to Haiti. A group of Grace Ridge “elves” is stuffing stockings with puzzles, candy, games, tissues, lotion, snacks and fuzzy gripper socks that will be delivered to area Medicaid facilities through Burke Hospice & Palliative Care’s...

Holiday Events in Western NC

To be in Western North Carolina this time of year is to step into a holiday postcard. From Morganton to Blowing Rock to Asheville; from town squares to snow-covered mountaintops, communities are illuminated with decorations, twinkling lights and holiday cheer. Today at Grace Ridge, we officially kick off this most wonderful time of the year by gathering in our lobby to decorate the Christmas tree. And this evening, many of us will bundle up and head out to watch the Morganton Christmas Parade. But this is just the beginning of a season filled with events. The festivities at Grace Ridge alone are enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit and, of course, in a Good Mood. On Thursday, Dec. 4 we’ll host a Wine Tasting in our rooftop solarium. Guests will enjoy selections of local wines, hors d’oeuvres and desserts surrounded by piano music and holiday décor. Join us for a taste and toast! To register to attend, click here or call 855-200-2673. On Dec. 11, residents and staff will come together for our annual Christmas Party, and our own Grace Ridge Chorus will present a special Christmas Concert the following day. We’ll also enjoy more holiday music on Dec. 15 and Christmas Service on Dec. 22. On top of the festivities here at Grace Ridge, there is no shortage of opportunities nearby to get in the spirit of the season.   Here’s a taste of holiday fun happening in Western NC: Christmas at Biltmore – Daily thru Jan. 11 (Biltmore Estate – Asheville, NC) Festival of Lights – Nightly thru Jan. 25 (Chetola Resort – Blowing Rock, NC)...

My Favorite Things At Grace Ridge Holly Days Sale

Julie Andrews sang “My Favorite Things” in the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Sound of Music.” During a recent outing to the Hudson Dinner Theatre, Grace Ridge residents were able to enjoy the original lyrics from the musical. As we sat listening intently to the melodious sound of the players, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite things and especially of those things we would be sharing at our fourth annual Holly Days Sale. Friday, Nov. 8 from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 9 from 9-3 p.m., vendors will join us in the Ervin Community Room of Grace Ridge as we begin our celebration and shopping for the upcoming holidays. More than 30 vendors will be selling handmade and specialty items. This year those visiting the “Holly Day Sale” will be greeted by Grace Ridge’s 6-ft Santa and his resident elves. Upon entering the community room we hope your heart will sing as did Julie Andrews as you walk the aisles and view some of our favorite things. Some of our favorite vendors will be back this year. Linda Costner will be joining us with her beautiful handmade jewelry. Another favorite is “Throughout the Garden.” Each year our residents ask “is she coming back?” And yes, she’ll be back with her delicious homemade salsa, dips, and things to make your mouth water! Then how about the woodsman, the weaver, the potter, the toy makers, the beekeeper and more? How about the cartographer, authors, monogrammer, painter and more? Yes, these favorite vendors will be back to bring us our favorite things! How about new vendors? Our answer is yes, we will have many...