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Yard sale benefits Holly Place

June 17, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

Caregivers of 11 elderly women displaced from North Holly Place last month watched over a yard sale Friday. They said they were sad to sell items attached to memories of the residents.

The residents were placed at other assisted-living centers and nursing homes in late May after money ran out to run the 240 S. Potomac St. home, said Melanie Davis, administrator of Senior Living Alternatives, which ran North Holly Place and still runs Holly Place, at 268 S. Potomac St., both low-income assisted-living centers.

"We had to close down this building to keep the other one going," Davis said of North Holly Place.

At a yard sale Friday on North Holly Place's grounds, the caregivers sold the dressers in which residents kept their garments, the plates on which workers served them meals and the televisions that displayed the residents' favorite programs - game shows.

Plates were selling for a quarter. Dressers sold for $15.

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"It's hard. These people are like family to me. It's like losing my own family," Davis said. "We had to see a chair go that one of our longtime residents used to sit in all the time. She would tell you a dozen times a day that she loved you."

Davis said the homes have housed about 200 residents over the past 19 years. Over the years, as residents receiving subsidies through Medicaid lost benefits, the center lost income, making it harder to stay afloat, she said.

"We go out every day and we beg and beg for money, but the expenses continued to outweigh the income and we just couldn't do it anymore - Lord knows we've tried," she said.

Davis said North Holly Place - a 1930s white painted brick building with green trim - "had a lot of character."

"It has the old staircase and the big old rooms, big windows," she said. "Just to see the ladies sitting there in their rocking chairs - it made you feel like they were your grandparents. Well, they are your grandparents."

Money raised from the yard sale Friday and one last Friday will be used to sustain Holly Place, which houses about 15 residents between the ages of 72 and 94, she said. The yard sale raised about $600 last week, she said.

Holly Place will hold a basket bingo in October to help raise more money, and workers continue to apply for grants to pull in more funds, she said.

Janet Monn perused the yard sale Friday, but she had more on her mind than the blankets she eyed folded on the yard. She asked workers, "What do you need?"

Monn, 67, of Smithsburg, said she is with the Ladies Auxiliary of the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Co., which has plans to help Holly Place through a canned food drive this year.

"We want to try to keep the other one going," she said.

About 10 employees were laid off as a result of North Holly Place's closure, Davis said. The building will be returned to the state's possession, she said.

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