When her family moved to Glen Allan 18 years ago, Coral Loxton made a decision to be more social and to live life passionately by giving back to her community. That’s why she formed a “meet up” group for women aged 40 and older: The Hens of the Glen. The group now entertains 24 members of all different backgrounds and professions who meet on a monthly basis to enjoy coffee, lunch, or just talk about life.
“I moved to the Glen in 1994 and there were two churches there and about 50 houses, and apart from a quilting group which met once a month and a mother-and-tots meeting there was really nothing for local women to do or get together,” said Loxton. “I wanted to meet people; three other women I had met through the moms-and-tots group, who were grandmothers like me, decided to meet one day for lunch and it started from there.”
During the monthly meeting the women pass along the loonie purse for donations that are collected and given to a charity every two or three months.
The group has given to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, breast cancer research, service dogs in Elmira, the Woolwich and Drayton food banks, local women’s shelters, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and Doctors Without Borders throughout the years.
This past Christmas the hens held a silent auction of items donated from the group and managed to raise $200 for the MCC.
Even though the group call themselves the Hens of the Glen they are not all from the Glen now: there are quite a few ladies from Elmira and one or two from Kitchener. Over the years the group has lost a few members, including two of its founders, Aileen Roden and Minerva Martin, who passed away due to illness.
“They were great ladies and really helped to get this group off the ground.”
Members of the group range in age from 42 to 94 and we have no common denominator apart from the fact that they are women.
“We talk about everything, especially men – those of us that are lucky enough to still have our husbands with us, we talk about them. I think because we do not have a lot in common or don’t belong to the same church it allows us to talk about anything and everything, except politics or religion,” said Loxton. “We will discuss the fate of the world, or things happening here in Elmira like why we don’t have a Canadian Tire in town, even what our grandchildren or great grandchildren are up to, it can be anything. They are a great group of women.”
The group prefers to be known as the hens, a name that came from one of the members who joked that the women were all just a bunch of old hens – the name stuck.
The women meet at restaurants across the region, including At the Crossroads (their favourite meeting place) as well as Anna Mae’s restaurant in Millbank and the Swiss Chalet in Waterloo. It can be difficult when there are 24 members showing up at a small restaurant because the group can easily take over the establishment, said Loxton.
To pick the meeting spot the group uses a birthday system: whoever has a birthday on the month they are meeting chooses the restaurant to meet at.
‘We are very democratic,” she laughed.
“It is very informal but we feel we are doing a little to help out charities and we are having some good times while we do that. We have built a nice community of women – a community does not have to be about houses.”