Fellowship of Brethren Homes member communities share gratitude for grant

The Fellowship of Brethren Homes received a grant of $500,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Health Education and Research Fund in April (see the Newsline report at www.brethren.org/news/2020/church-of-the-brethren-distributes-to-retirement-communities.html ). The money was disbursed to the 21 member retirement communities in amounts relative to the dues they contribute to the fellowship.

A video chat station for residents at Hillcrest Homes in La Verne, Calif.
a “Hope Notes” board posted at Hillcrest Homes for residents to share encouraging thoughts with each other during the pandemic.

Now several of those communities have sent thank you notes to denominational staff expressing their gratitude for the grant money and sharing information about how it is being used.

From Ken Neher, executive director of Garden Terrace in Wenatchee, Wash.:

The grant money went towards “sanitizers, masks, and gloves.”

From LaMonte Rothrock, CEO of the Cedars in McPherson, Kan.:

“We have been blessed in that we have no residents or staff test positive during this time. Our staff has stepped up and taken on the additional responsibility of not only being safe at work but being smart and safe out in their personal lives. With this challenge, there has been additional stress on our staff. We have chosen to use these fund to create an employee enhancement fund to address not only celebrations needed to keep our team’s morale up but also to help out in emergencies with staff such as lack of child care that might have prevented them from coming to work. I have been reemphasizing the Church of the Brethren and our origins for ‘Why we exist.’ This gift has been a great example of what this relationship can mean.”

From Maureen Cahill, administrator at Spurgeon Manor in Dallas Center, Iowa:

“The grant was a very welcome gift. Spurgeon Manor used the funds to purchase an additional Nustep exercise bike. With residents restricted from moving throughout the facility, an addition piece of equipment helps make a normal routine more accessible.”

From Matthew Neeley, president and CEO of Hillcrest Homes in La Verne, Calif.:

“We are so grateful for this kind and generous gift. It has helped cover the cost of our efforts to meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of our residents. Here a few of the recent projects:

“We set up three video chat stations with large screen TVs around campus–two in care environments, and one for residential living. This helps residents connect with loved ones who at this time are not allowed to visit their loved ones in their homes. (see pic)

“It helps defray the cost of constant printing and distribution of information to keep residents, associates, and family members informed. 

“It supports the Resident Life and Wellness Department that each week creates, prints, and distributes a ‘Home Isolation Wellness Kit’ to all residents (and emails them to any others who sign up to receive them) with games, puzzles, journal prompts, contests, and senior-friendly exercise routines to help residents cope with the boredom of being at home all day, every day (see attached example). BTW: Anyone can sign up to receive the weekly email. Just go to:  www.TheCOACH.org .

“This gift helps cover the cost of making the needed changes in dining services…to prepare and serve either to-go meals or home-delivered meals.

“It helps support smaller projects, such as the ‘Hope Notes’ project and our basket of thanks. We purchased six large whiteboards and pens…and put them on easels around campus with the title ‘Hope Notes’ where people could write encouraging thoughts to each other. We also have a ‘Basket of Thanks’ where residents can choose a thank you card or blank card to brighten another person’s day. The cards are free and restocked regularly. They may be sent to anyone in the world with two rules or caveats: 1) residents may take only one card a day, and 2) they must send the first card before taking another card.

“In a myriad of ways, both small and significant, Hillcrest is responding to the challenges of this day and the kind and unexpected gift from the Church of the Brethren was a shot in the arm and a real morale boost. It has helped Hillcrest directly bless the residents of Hillcrest and the staff who care for them. Please pass along our thanks.”

For more about the Fellowship of Brethren Homes go to www.brethren.org/homes .

Go to www.brethren.org/Newsline to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.

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