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Dinners sell out for Holly Place fundraiser

November 03, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - They prepared enough chicken to feed 200, but, unprepared for the number of people interested in buying a $6 meal to benefit a local assisted-living home for seniors, the North Hagerstown Lions Club ran out of food less than two hours into what was to be a six-hour fundraiser.

William Bulla, a past district governor for the Lions Club, said the group heard about Holly Place's struggle with secure funding, and decided to hold a benefit for the nonprofit Sunday in the parking lot of Always Ron's. Volunteers were raising money by selling meals that included chicken and beans. The meals cost $6, but Bulla said many people were giving more than the minimum. Those who gave more than $40 will receive a wreath.

Bulla said one couple even gave the Lions Club a check for $1,000 for Holly Place.

Holly Place is a group home on South Potomac Street for low-income senior citizens, several of whom have physical or mental disabilities.

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In recent years, Holly Place has experienced financial difficulty that led to the closure of a second senior citizens' group home, North Holly Place, in 2006.

Senior Living Alternatives, the board that oversees Holly Place, was turned down for a Washington County Gaming Commission grant in August. In September, the board's president said officials needed to raise $160,000 to stay open next year, The Herald-Mail has reported.

Roy Rowland of Waynesboro, Pa., is a member of the North Hagerstown Lions Club and said Holly Place's funding troubles "hit home" with him. Rowland's grandmother lived at the assisted-living home for two years in the early 1990s before she died. Rowland said Holly Place gave his grandmother independence, even in her final years.

Steven Wise of Hagerstown said he decided to stop at Always Ron's on Burhans Boulevard to purchase a meal to help "all of the senior citizens."

Wise, who sometimes volunteers for REACH, said that organization often sends leftover food to Holly Place.

"I just like to help anyone in need," he said.

Bulla said Lions Club members did not expect the meals to be so popular, and volunteers served food steadily for about two hours until there was nothing left.

"We didn't know it would go that fast," Bulla said. "Maybe we'll have to do this again when the weather is good."

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