Retirement Home In Need [Preface] ---
The Yarborough-O’Neal Home in Zebulon is an
assisted living facility.
It currently houses 39 elderly women & 18 elderly men. In many ways,
these elderly people are just like children…many are unable to help themselves
and have no one and/or no where to turn for assistance. The home gets
almost all of the residents' money (retirements, pensions, financial assistance, etc)
in exchange for somewhere clean and warm to
stay and all of the things required to provide them a comfortable environment and the
physical support they need. Earlier in life, these people were professionals, farmers,
veterans of foreign wars, have raised families, etc…these are people
from all walks of life. Unfortunately, people are often put in (or end
up in) homes and seemingly forgotten. Most all of them are cognizant
of what is going on around them and very aware that they are left all
alone during Christmas (and most other times). This is sad to see, and
an all too common miserable existence. Many of these folks have little
or no family, and lack even the very basic of items that we all take
for granted in daily life…things like Anti-perspirant, handkerchiefs,
socks, q-tips, soap, etc. These items are not furnished by the
facility, and the individuals generally have so little money that they
can’t help themselves with the basics.
For those who don't know, Debbie is the President of Scootworks.
Debbie’s father is in this home, we’re out there to visit almost every
day, and try to help out where we can. We’ve repaired sunglasses, put
batteries in clocks, labeled clothing, found lost items, talked to
management about conditions, and even been called to cut a lock off of
a cabinet where an elderly lady had accidentally locked her personal
possessions in and then couldn’t find the key.
Debbie was talking with the manager recently learned, after a Christmas
routine of many years, they wouldn't be able to prepare their annual
Christmas dinner for these people this year. There is also no money
for any Christmas events. Due to budget cuts, personnel cutbacks, most
of their suppliers’ donation budgets drying
up, and a general lack of funding, they simply would not have the food
or money for it. In addition, they usually get donations of a few extra
hams and other items from their suppliers for the Christmas Eve meal and the days that
surround Christmas that these folks look forward to, but they had received no
contributions this year. Debbie and Joyce (another Scootworker) had quietly
started working on a plan to do something for these people. It quickly
became obvious that it would be difficult to make a significant
difference for this many people at Christmas via the contributions of
a few people. On Sunday December 14th, Debbie and I decided we
needed to try and do something, despite our own issues with the economic
slowdown and lack of funds for this sort of activity...
A Call for help [The Reaching Out] ---
We sat down on Sunday afternoon and composed a letter to send out to various local organizations
we are members of, internet discussion forums we manage, and to our own employees. We tried to
remind everyone about these people, and the fact that all Christmas events seem to be slanted
towards Children. We agreed that, while Christmas is largely for Children and their needs, there
are other groups such as these people who could really use the friendship and help during this
Christmas season. On Monday, we also made phone calls to local businesses and groups
in search of help for this activity. Commitments of money, supplies, food, manpower, and other things
began to come in...almost immediately. Debbie picked up the task and tirelessly managed the
entire project. There was a lot of work to do, and not much time to get it done.
The Following Week [Work & Preparation] ---
Wow...the following week was laden with work for many people... Many of our own employees
donated money for purchasing of items for gifts and food, supplies, and lots of manpower to
assemble everything. Folks from Scootworks, the Raleigh Durham R/C
The Triangle East Amateur Radio Association (www.TEARA.org),
and the NCVulcan & Friends group (www.NCVulcan.org)
were out shopping for gift items, food, wrapping and packaging materials, etc. Folks were
running around, pulling everything together, for a "mass gift packaging" operation.
Many of the Scootworks employees worked late on Thursday night (December 18th) until around 9pm, and got
all of the gifts wrapped and ready for the next day. On the 19th, loads of food that was
prepared by Scootworkers assembled and plated in the kitchen at Scootworks.
The First Event [December 19th] ---
The first big day for the folks at the Yarborough-O’Neal Home in Zebulon had arrived! Volunteers,
Friends, and Scootworks employees headed over to the home around 2:30 pm to begin setting up
large spread of food and gifts. David Hedrick brought out his Bluegrass band and set up. Around
3:00 pm, we began to get everyone served. There was lots of food to go around, and we made sure
everyone had all they wanted of it. Santa arrived and was in wait... David got everyone
rev'ed up and singing Jingle Bells, and Santa made his appearance. As always, Santa is a BIG hit everywhere
he goes! Santa and his helpers distributed loads of gifts to everyone, and made a jolly exit.
David got the band kicked off, and continued to play through the afternoon. The played lots of music
that everyone recognized, and many were clapping, tapping, and singing along. We finally wound the first
day's events down and cleaned up. We left behind smiling faces, folks who had a good Christmas event
and received some things that they needed and/or could use, and lots of snacks for the residents.
The Second Event [December 22nd] ---
The next big day for the folks at the Yarborough-O’Neal Home in Zebulon is to be a HotDog dinner
from the Corner Grille.
The Third Event [December 24th] ---
The third big day for the folks at the Yarborough-O’Neal Home in Zebulon is to be a Christmas
Feast to write home about.
Donations [Community Support] ---
Gosh... where do I start? In addition to all of the personal donations from individuals,
manpower for preparations, supplies
pickup and delivery, legwork to find items, etc...there was much in the form of goods, money, &
supplies from various businesses and sources:
Martha Snyder, a member of the GlaxoSmithKline Riders group (a motorcycle discussion group
managed by Scootworks), got the message and paid for the Christmas Day Feast from their "Share
Your Christmas" program. Martha went shopping with the manager of the Yarborough-O’Neal Home to
purchase all of the meats and other items to make a truly wonderful Christmas Eve feast for
the nearly 60 residents of the home.
Various members of RDRC donated money to help out, and the RDRC treasury donated even
more money. This was used to buy gift items, and provide food for the events on December
19th & 22nd. David Hedrick also pulled his Bluegrass band together and put on a great show for
the residents during the December 19th event.
Various members of TEARA donated gift items for the residents, and Norman Young (also from TEARA)
just _happened_ to know how to contact Santa for a visit during the December 19th event.
Various members of the NCVulcan & Friends group donated gift items for the residents.
Brian Bullock, of the Corner Grille in Zebulon, sold us food at a discount and agreed to provide free catering to the home on
12/22/08. The residents will have a fine hotdog dinner...something different from their normal
routine for the residents. Any of you who have been to Scootworks, East R/C, or live in Zebulon and
have eaten at the Corner Grille _KNOW_ what I'm talking about!
Helicopter Consulting Services
donated money to help with the Christmas Activities. www.helicopterconsultingservices.com
donated money to help with the Christmas Activities. www.VessAero.com
The Country Hearth Inn
in Knightdale donated lots of supplies to help with the Christmas gifts. http://www.countryhearth.com/hotels/nc-knightdale.asp
Kohl's Department Store in Knightdale gave us a 30% discount on all clothing and items
purchased as gifts for the Christmas for the Home!
Miller Plumbing from Lexington donated money to help out with the event, and Steve Miller
came over on the 19th to give some hands-on help with the activity.