Residents Margaret Schneider, Al Foster, and Esther Krabill celebrate the Blade delivery system that has earned $51,000 for improvements at the South Toledo retirement complex.
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The residents of Swan Creek Retirement Village needed some money.
Not a lot, just some money to spruce up some rooms, buy some computers, maybe even install a shuffleboard court.
But relying on rummage and cookie sales wasn't cutting it. That's when Al Foster, one of the village's residents, had an idea. More than half of those in the village read The Blade. What if a group of village residents volunteered their time to deliver the paper and used the profits for things the retirement center needed?
Ten years - and $51,000 later - Mr. Foster, 89, said the delivery program at the South Toledo retirement complex has been a resounding success.
"It's been a real cash cow for us," he chuckled. "We used to have to do rummage sales and cookie sales, but we don't have to do that anymore."
Every morning, several of 26 rotating volunteers get up early, pick up a bundle of papers, and deliver them to their fellow residents who subscribe - about 130 daily, and 110 on Sundays.
Volunteers like Ed Basilius, 90.
"People think I'm nuts, but it's just something to do. It keeps me active," Mr. Basilius said. "I was used to getting up early anyway."
Most days are no problem, he added, though the Sunday paper, The Blade's largest and heaviest, does require a little extra effort.
Mr. Foster said proceeds from delivering the paper have paid for a variety of projects and programs over the last decade, including purchase of a machine to enlarge newsprint for those reading the paper or books, computer equipment, entertainment, and, yes, a new shuffleboard court.
Thomas Walton, editor and vice president of The Blade, called Swan Creek's achievement "amazing," and said he didn't know of any other paper carriers, or carrier group, like Swan Creek's.
"I just think it's marvelous what they've been able to do," said Mr. Walton, a former paper boy himself.
Mr. Foster, chairman of the retirement center's "Blade Delivery Group" and a retired University of Toledo chemistry professor, said some of his friends give him a hard time. "They tell me I'm running my career in reverse because I never had a paper route as a boy," he said.
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