MUSCATINE — While some may think assisted living homes can be isolating for their residents, one local home is working to go against this stigma by keeping community connections strong through fundraising for good causes.
Sunnybrook Assisted Living and Memory Care, 3515 Diana Queen Drive, is a local assisted living home for both those who may need assistance in day-to-day life as well as those struggling with Alzheimer’s and memory loss. “There are many people who fear being in assisted living, viewing them as isolating places where people are forgotten,” said Megan Francis, Marketing Director for Sunnybrook, “We try to make sure that doesn’t happen.” The workers at Sunnybrook encourage residents to socialize, whether it’s through family outings, celebrating birthdays and holidays, or joining resident groups such as card groups or service groups.
Sunnybrook is also home to many formerly-active community members, such as teachers and service group leaders. For these residents, giving back to the Muscatine community was a big part of their lives. “Our goal here at Sunnybrook is to help our residents keep that connection, and to keep providing opportunities for residents to give back to their community,” said Francis.
One of the biggest fundraisers Sunnybrook does is their Lunch for a Cause fundraisers. From September to April, Sunnybrook invites Muscatine residents to sit down with residents on the second Wednesday of the month to eat lunch with them. All the proceeds from these lunches go to a different non-profit each time. The event is done during the colder season so residents who can’t travel during these months can still have a chance to meet and visit with other Muscatine citizens. “We tell people to come to us.” For those unable to take an hour out of their day for lunch, the service also sells to-go lunches, courtesy of Marine Credit Union who helps pack the to-go lunches along with serving the Sunnybrook residents and the guests they’re hosting.
“Who wouldn’t love events like these?” said Barbara Sabbath, when asked about her experiences with Lunch for a Cause, citing how much it meant to her to be able to help raise money for charity. Sabbath was a member of the Community Foundation board when it first started.
Sabbath said that she doesn’t consider anyone who stops by a stranger. “If they’re receptive to come, they’re going to be friendly.” Fellow resident Dick Vetters agreed, and said one of the things he liked most about the events is making new friends.
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Another Sunnybrook resident, Alan Arkema, is fairly new to Muscatine himself. He moved to Muscatine to be closer to his daughter, and has enjoyed himself at Sunnybrook ever since through the connections the facility has helped him make with other members of the community.
Arkema believes the lunch events help everyone — both in Sunnybrook and in the community — stay connected while broadening their perspectives. Along with meeting new people, he is able to eat lunch with his daughter at these events each month, and for a good cause. “It’s nice to get different people and groups in, to meet them and also help them by raising money.”
In September, the Sunnybrook residents sold 83 to-go lunches and had 35 people eat lunch in with them, earning $830 for the Kids First fund to help provide winter coats for kids in need. In October, they sold 103 to-go lunches and 15 guests ate in, earning the residents $760 for the Muscatine Humane Society.
The residents and staff at Sunnybrook hope they can raise that much again in November as the Muscatine community continues into the Season of Giving.
Because of a time conflict with a Thanksgiving event, the next Lunch for a Cause at Sunnybrook Assisted Living will be at 11:30 a.m. on Wed., Nov. 20 — a week later than usual. November’s lunch will benefit the Prevent Violence Coalition, and the menu will be chicken and noodles over creamy mashed potatoes, a vegetable dish and a pumpkin bar for $6. Reservations are required for dining in, please call 563-263-5108 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservation.