Shirley is one of 360 older adults who come to the Senior Center at Community place. 30 to 40 people attend every day.
But the center's in jeopardy. Funding from the Monroe County Cffice of Aging has remained the same for 20 years, and United Way dollars have been eliminated. Up until now, Community Place has been able to close some of the gap with grant money and staff cuts. But this month those options dried up.
Lisa Bradley is the only paid staff member left. "We're like a family here," she says. "If you talk to a number of different people, they'll tell you, we're a family."
"Unfortunately, what I think will happen is we'll lose a lot of our folks," says Katy Allen, Director of Aging Services at Community Place. "Certainly they'll lose access to the health screenings, the exercise, the wellness activities, the trips to the grocery store that we provide. All of those things that are keeping them living at home safely and independently."
In a last ditch effort to keep the Senior Center open, Community Place has launched a fundraising campaign. No one's more aware of the stakes than Ezekial Washington and Virguili Ciudin. Their pictures hang on a wall inside the center. Each time a donation comes in, a ribbon is placed by a senior's name. A $100 donation provides one senior five days a week of meals, exercise, health screenings and computer classes, for an entire year.
Shirley's daily 10-minute ride to the Senior Center is provided by Medical Motors. Community Place covers the cost. Even with that expense -and other services provided by the senior center - advocates say it's a fraction of the cost for long-term care. "The bottom line is, if people can't live at home, they live in long term care facilities," says Allen. "It becomes taxpayers who are paying that, and we at Community Place can keep people living at home for a very small fraction of that money, less than 5% of that cost. And we do it really well."
"I'm hoping we get it, so we're on steady ground, so they don't have to close it," Shirley says.
The Senior Center is Shirley's life line. Community Place is doing all it can to keep it that way.
CPGR'S SENIOR CENTER HAS LAUNCHED "CAMPAIGN FOR 200."
THEY'RE HOPING 200 PEOPLE WILL EACH DONATE $100, BUT THEY'LL TAKE ANY GIFT TO HELP THEM GET TO THEIR GOAL
IF YOU'D LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY PLACE OF GREATER ROCHESTER AND ITS SENIOR CENTER, CLICK HERE.
TO DONATE, CLICK HERE. PLEASE NOTE CAMPAIGN FOR 200.
OR YOU CAN SEND A CHECK TO:
THE COMMUNITY PLACE
145 PARSELLS AVENUE
ROCHESTER, NY 14609
ATTN: KATY ALLEN