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Farmington Rambling River Center's recycled card group provides cheap cards

Sharon Kinard works on a card Monday at the Rambling River Center. The recycled card group meets every Monday at the center.

If you need a card for a 100-year-old who's celebrating a birthday, there might not be a better place to look than Farmington's Rambling River Center. There's a whole rack full of them there, along with plenty of choices for anyone celebrating 90 or more years of life.

The cards, along with cards for any number of other occasions, are displayed in racks in the center's entryway. They are the work of a group of Rambling River Center members who meet Monday afternoons to dismantle old cards and rebuild them as something new. They spend their afternoon slicing and pasting and decorating all in the interest of helping someone celebrate.

And if they have some fun while they're at it, well, that's OK, too.

"When we get here, we work on the cards, but we also socialize," said group member Sharon Kinard.

Nobody's sure exactly how long the recycled cards group has been around. The estimates offered this week range from two years to as long as there has been a senior center in Farmington. The current group has six or seven regular members, and they have increased the frequency of their meetings from monthly to every other week. They had to, group leader Julia Johnson said, to keep up with demand.

Exactly what the group works on depends on the time of year.

"Right now we're kind of concentrating on Christmas cards," Kinard said. "We focus on the seasons. If it isn't a holiday, we're busy making birthday cards for adults and children. All-purpose cards."

The cards the group works with are all donated. Those nobody has gotten to yet are filed in boxes: cards for sympathy and birthdays, congratulations and anniversaries. Group members cut off the fronts of the cards and any inside message, and glue them to new backings. Each new card gets a sticker on the back identifying it as recycled by the Rambling River Center.

Finished cards fill drawers in a cabinet. There are drawers for Christmas cards and Valentine's Day. There are others filled with a mix of cards.

Cards sell two for $1, with proceeds going to Rambling River Center.

The group also uses the cards to keep up with other members. Every Rambling River Center member gets a card for his or her birthday, and the group sends out cards for anniversaries. Johnson estimates they send out 30 to 40 birthday cards a month and seven or so anniversary cards.

On Monday, they talked about sending a card for a group member who had fallen and broken her leg, and Johnson said other members of the group sent her a card recently when she was having a tough time.

"We keep up with everybody," she said. "It kind of brightens up your day and lets you know people are thinking of you."

Most of the women in the recycled card group are crafters in their free time. Some work on the cards at home - all the more time for socializing during regular meetings - and bring their own tools to the center on Mondays.

The meetings are a good reason to get out the house, Johnson said.

"It keeps the mind going," she said.

And if it helps someone find the perfect birthday card for the centenarian in their life, so much the better.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606