Urja Joshi, a student volunteer at Bendale's Holly Jolly Market, shows off some of the unique items offered.

Holly Jolly Market returns

Bendale Acres brings back the annual holiday event after 10-year break

Bendale Acres Long Term Care Facility brought back its Holly Jolly Market after a 10-year-hiatus.

Following a successful summer yard sale this past summer, residents were anxious to hold another sale for the holiday, organizers said.

On Nov. 23, about 80 people attended the market, which ran from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. Seven vendors were invited to set up shop with tables costing $35. Besides the vendors, residents also had to set up a booth selling beautiful handmade Christmas Cards, holiday pins and candy trees.

Selena Lynch who has been the volunteer coordinator the past five years praised the hard work of the volunteers and staff.

“These events are really about engaging our residents who are living in long term care and giving them an opportunity to interact with the public despite any disabilities they may have,” she said. “You can really see how happy and engaged they become through participating.”

Lynch noted the number of students who got involved.

“I was really taken aback to see these high school students so eager to get up early on a Saturday to come and volunteer, ” she said. “It shows how much they value their relationship with this place, its residents and what they do here.”

Many of the high school students have already met their minimum number of 40 hours volunteer work with many going beyond that, Lynch noted.

Student volunteer Urja Joshi said although she has only been volunteering since September, she already feels a bond developing with the place. She ran a table with an assortment of glassware, holiday ornaments and costume jewelry for sale.

“The best thing about volunteering here and being a part of something like this is to hear all the stories from the residents and to see how happy they are whenever I come,” she said.

The market included a sandwich lunch and bake sale with holiday cookies and cupcakes. Funds raised from the sale will go towards providing residents with some of their special extras such as an ice cream cart treat and bingo.

Past sales have allowed the volunteer association to purchase a large fish tank, a piano and new furniture for all residents to enjoy.

The volunteer association is looking to re-vamp the bathing facility into a spa-like atmosphere to make it feel more homey for the residents.