They are old enough to order from the senior menu at a local restaurant, but the 10 elderly women that are The Palace Garden Craft Group are proving that there is no age limit when it comes to lending a helping hand in their community.
The women between the ages of 50 and 101, living at the Palace Garden Mobile Home Park in Chula Vista, decided one June day to raise money for Habitat for Humanity’s “Building For The Brave,” project.
“We decided to try and help more people in our community,” said Winona Fontenot, a 10-year member and leader of The Palace Garden Craft Group.
Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds affordable living homes, allows affordable ownership opportunities to wounded veterans and their families as part of the “Building For The Brave,” project.
“Building for the Brave” homes are built to accommodate the needs of wounded veterans.
The women raised $1,650 for a “Building for the Brave” home that will soon be built in Santee. The first of four homes under this project is in Lakeside.
To raise the money, the group hosted a spaghetti dinner on Sept.11, charging $7.50 a plate. They also sold $2 raffle tickets.
Fontenot said 80 guests showed up for the spaghetti dinner.
Local businesses on Third Avenue donated items or gift cards for the group to raffle off as prizes, Fontenot said. The women even raffled off some of their finest handmade quilts.
The 74-year-old Fontenot said it is quite an accomplishment to raise that much money and organize fund raising efforts all by themselves.
“There is great satisfaction that a group of little old ladies did this (raise money) without much help from anyone,” she said.
Fontenot said giving back to help a military family is something she can relate to because her husband is a Navy veteran of 22 years.
“We’re all aware of 9/11 and what’s happening to the military warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan, so we just wanted to do our part to help,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the women have contributed to the community.
Fontenot said that every Christmas the group tries to raise money for the Salvation Army.
They also raise and donate money to the Chula Vista Police Department’s shoes for the needy program.
She said, however, she still can’t believe her group raised as much money as it did.
“I’m a little overwhelmed by the amount,” she said. “Because that is the most money we’ve ever raised.”