MEANINGFUL MAKEOVERSSomerby's Card Makers Club is transforming old greeting cards into new ones for deserving recipients.
By Anne Riley
Photos by Dawn Harrison
Greeting cards are normally used once and then discarded, adding to trash piles and providing only a few moments of enjoyment. But these cards are usually still in very good shape after they’ve been read, which means that with a little tweaking, they could go on to another person, and perhaps another after that.
At Somerby St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, the senior residents are getting creative with old greeting cards by repurposing them into new ones. These new cards go to local veterans’ and children’s agencies, where they are enjoyed all over again by another round of recipients.
Roene Cammack, a resident at Somerby, came up with the idea – and they’ve been given a grant to form a Card Makers Club.
So how did all this start? With a simple trip to The Firehouse Shelter—a local homeless shelter for Birmingham-area men.
“Roene Cammack was attending an event at The Firehouse Shelter and saw a lady enter the room, and many men flock over to her,” said Dawn Acton, Director of Resident Services. “Roene was curious what the lady had brought into the room. The lady had brought greeting cards and the men at the shelter were excited to get to pick some out to be sent to their family.”
After witnessing this beautiful act of kindness, Cammack knew she wanted to be a part of the greeting card joy. She asked her minister for help getting a grant to start a Card Makers Club at Somerby—and the grant came through. Shortly after, Cammack began collecting old greeting cards with the intention of giving them a makeover for a whole new audience.
There have been many great moments since the inception of the Card Makers Club, but the club’s overall success is what gives Cammack the most joy. Since it began, the club has repurposed over 1,000 greeting cards, which have been distributed to local churches and the VA hospital.
The process of giving new life to these cards is fairly straightforward: People donate old cards to the Card Makers Club, and then when the club holds its monthly meeting, the magic begins. They gather supplies, match the cards to the right envelopes, and transform the old greeting card into something incredible.
After the cards are ready, Cammack distributes them wherever there is a need. She is always open and willing to take them wherever they will best serve their purpose of bringing joy to those who need it.
“Roene saw a need, knew how to fix it, and loves that she can give back to others,” Acton said. “She encourages others at Somerby to give back to the community as well.”
That mindset fits well with Somerby St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, where residents live full, enjoyable lives while receiving the assistance they need. The facility’s partnership with St. Vincent’s Health System provides residents with a complimentary membership to the One Nineteen Health and Wellness Center, which gives the seniors at Somerby a convenient way to stay active and sharp.
Cammack finds it amusing that senior citizens are so often perceived as having nothing to do other than “just be old.” She believes that seniors have a lot to give, and can contribute to their community and to society in great and significant ways—and the Card Makers Club offers a way to do just that.