The Friendly Club fulfills its charitable mission throughout the community.

The Friendly Club, a mission-driven group of residents within BridgeHaven, AlmaVia of San Francisco‘s memory care neighborhood, continually finds ways to give back to society. After hosting a successful bake sale to gain initial funding, the Club began making connections with community organizations like the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which visits residents of AlmaVia of San Francisco on a regular basis.

Initially, the Club wrote a letter to the SPCA thanking them for visiting the community, says Rachel Main, Elder Care Alliance’s Director of Life Enrichment and Memory Care. “The director of the SPCA called back in tears because she was so touched by the letter,” Main says.

From there, one of the club’s first major projects involved baking dog biscuits and making hand-sewn dog blankets for the SPCA, a project that took about three to four months. The members then packaged the biscuits and blankets and delivered them to SPCA employees. “As a result, they were able to tour the SPCA and meet some of the resident puppies and kittens,” Main says.

Shortly afterward, a family member of one of the Friendly Club members invited the Club to create blankets for infants at a nearby hospital. Each member was given a meaningful role during the project — some members sorted fabrics or selected patterns, while others sewed the blankets, Main says. Afterward, the blankets were delivered to the neonatal unit of a local hospital with an attached card offering “motherly advice” to the new and expectant mothers who would receive them.

“It’s just extraordinary when you focus on the strengths that remain instead of dwelling on the losses that occur when living with dementia,” Main says.

The blankets were hand-delivered, a unique experience for many Friendly Club members who don’t usually get the opportunity to visit the hospital to provide care for others, as opposed to receiving care themselves. “A young mother invited the Friendly Club members in to view this fragile, tiny newborn, which was amazing,” Main says. This is just one powerful example of how a simple project that can connect people in a way that truly transforms lives.