At the height of the pandemic, Patti Berry was faced with a dilemma. Like so many others in quarantine, she was feeling disconnected and isolated. Patti is a natural extrovert and felt like she needed to find a way to connect with other people. Then it occurred to her that the crafts she was working on could be put to a purpose and brighten other people’s lives. She started making birthday cards for Largo Landing residents and, thus, the Crafter’s Club was born.
The Crafter’s Club meets once a month in Riverdale Baptist Church’s carriage house. They bring whatever they’re working on and there are only two rules: no men and no children. Patti describes the meetings as joyous times filled with laughter and conversation. Each month, the group makes cards for every Largo Landing resident and an extra card for each resident’s birthday month. The themes of the cards vary but are usually based on the holidays and celebrations coming up each month. For example, the cards were Easter and spring themed in April and will be beach and ocean themed in August. Inside the cards, there are personal messages or greetings.
She calls the card makers her ‘card ninjas’ because she says, “It seems like every month 108 cards suddenly appear [in her office]”. Patti says that making the cards makes her “feel great and accomplished” and that thinking about residents receiving the mail makes her smile. She hand-delivers the bag of cards each month and is affectionately known as the ‘card lady’. She says that she’s heard that some residents hang the cards around their apartments as decorations and others save them to show their friends and family members.
Patti’s passion for serving older adults traces back to her childhood. She was raised by her grandmother and says she has so much respect for those a few generations ahead of her. Her passion and love for Largo residents are clear when she speaks, and the Crafter’s Club has brought smiles and joy to so many people. What started as a way to feel connected during the pandemic has blossomed into a wonderful ministry that offers connection and adds beauty to residents’ life.