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Phone-a-thon donations help seniors' home

January 25, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

When board members of the nonprofit Senior Living Alternatives announced last week that Holly Place was in danger of closing, it didn't take long for the community to respond.

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Washington County nursing home employees organized a "phone-a-thon'' and raised $18,000 to $20,000 on Sunday at the Williamsport Retirement Village.

The center needed $11,592 by the end of January to keep going. It also has a budget shortfall of $4,000 a month.

"It feels wonderful. It's just fabulous," said Williamsport Retirement Village Administrator Tim Berry.

He said the total was achieved with many small donations.

"It represents a lot of community support," he said.

About 50 volunteers helped out by manning phone lines, running errands and making appeals to local businesses.

The nonprofit Senior Living Alternatives runs two centers on South Potomac Street, Holly Place and North Holly.

Residents there cannot live alone but are not sick enough to be admitted to a nursing home.

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If Holly Place closes, 30 low-income residents could become homeless, said Jean Hettenhouser, board president of the group.

Holly Place has been open for the last 11 years. Its financial difficulties started about two years ago, she said.

"There have been several factors. Utilities and food costs keep rising and Social Security checks are kept to a minimum," she said. The facility has also received less money from gaming funds than in the past, she said.

The $11,592 deficit arose from three pay periods taking place in January instead of two and the group's payroll taxes coming due, said Hettenhouser.

With an annual budget of $434,000, Senior Living Alternatives receives $70,000 from the state, $20,000 from the county and $20,000 from the city.

Contributions can be sent to Holly Place in care of Melanie Socks, 268 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

For more information, call 301-223-7971.

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