By Gord Bowes, News staff
A friendly spirit will likely be watching over this Saturday’s Christmas bazaar at Mohawk Gardens.
Regina Kalba, who died last spring at age 73, donated much of the material used to make many of the floral arrangements and Christmas decorations that will be on sale at the seniors apartment building.
Kalba was a fixture at craft stores and charity bazaars around Hamilton. Known as “the flower lady,” she began her small business late in life when her health failed and osteoporosis forced her into a wheelchair.
Arts and crafts gave her life purpose and a new meaning, said her daughter Laurie Kallis. Kalba gathered other seniors and people with disabilities in her building and together they formed ‘Regina and the Elves.”
“In the months before her death, Regina made me promise that I would find a good home for the craft supplies she had so lovingly collected, a place where they would be appreciated and do good,” said Kallis.
About 200 boxes of material and instructions on how to make the decorations was given to Mohawk Gardens, a CityHousing Hamilton building for seniors.
It was quite a blessing, said Helene Perry, treasurer of the building’s seniors committee.
The tenants are trying to raise money for a new kitchen in the community area on the main floor. They are hoping to receive a New Horizons grant to cover most of the cost, but then they have to equip it to fit their needs.
“When we received this gift, we saw it as a way to raise money for the kitchen,” said Perry.
The current kitchen is only about 50 square feet in size — not exactly fit for dealing with the regular community suppers that feed 50 to 80 people, she said. The new kitchen will be about three times that size.
The money raised at Saturday’s bazaar will be put toward things like a commercial dishwasher, a large freezer, a fridge with sliding doors and a double oven.
“There’s a lot of extra expense the grant does not cover,” said Lyn Acke, president of the seniors committee.
Since August, residents have made over 300 crafts for the sale. They will range in price from $5 up to $100 for the largest decorations.
“Our seniors have amazed us,” said Acke.
Mohawk Gardens is located at 395 Mohawk Rd. East, near Mall Road. Saturday’s sale, which is cash only, runs 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.