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The Heritage residents shop for crafts within their homes

November 2, 2018 GMT

Residents at The Heritage at Meridian Gardens had the luxury of shopping in the comfort of their own homes on Thursday.

From baked goods to handmade jewelry to explosion box cards, there were items suitable for patrons of all ages. The Fall Craft Boutique returned for another year at the assisted living facility, 4515 38th St.

The event was also open to the public.

Organizers said they have been hosting it for at least 10 years for the same reason -- to see the smiles on the residents’ faces as they visit each booth socializing with new people.

“It’s important because it brings people into (The Heritage) community,” Life Enrichment Director Jolene Ortmeier said.

Ortmeier said the event – traditionally held annually on the first Thursday in November – has grown tremendously throughout the years. She said 20 vendors participated last year and that there were approximately 30 different vendors on Thursday visiting from counties including Platte, Colfax and Polk.

“We always make sure that we have a variety of vendors,” Ortmeier said. “Make sure that it’s not all the same stuff.”

First-time attendee Joe Rayman was seen purchasing a variety of baked goods from “2 Ole Ladies.” Rayman said he wanted to showcase his support for his friend who was running the booth.

“She doesn’t give me free samples, so I have to buy some,” Rayman joked.

Each vendor purchased a spot to participate in the event. Proceeds raised from the day are going toward funding future in-house events.

The Heritage employees for the first time also had a booth of their own selling coffee and doughnuts. However, they were raising free-will funds to be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in conjunction with November serving as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Because many residents are prone to developing the disease, Ortmeier said it’s a cause worth supporting.

Her love of crafts has resulted in Columbus resident Joyce Strnad being a familiar face at the show since its inception. Strnad said she spends a lot of her free time weaving rag rugs on a loom.

Strnad’s booth also offered fabric coasters, baby burp cloths, blankets and aprons.

In addition to returning vendors, the event also attracted some new faces like Debb Wolfe, owner of the local business Designs by Debb.

Wolfe showcased her handcrafted interactive memory albums and explosion box cards for the first time on Thursday inside The Heritage. The retired Central Community College instructor said crafting is a productive way to occupy her days.

Wolfe and her husband have spent the last three years traveling to locations as far as Springfield, South Dakota, attending craft shows.

While Strnad and Wolfe create different items, they both share the love of making new friendships.

“(I just like) visiting with different people,” Strnad said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.