By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Outside, trees are resplendent with shades of yellow, rust and crimson. The palette makes great inspiration for the creative and big-hearted ladies of the Isabel Society, currently preparing their fall luncheon with the theme “Colors of Autumn.” The Nov. 13 event will raise funds to enhance the lives of senior residents at Harter House and Vermillion Place in Anderson. Tickets are on sale now for the luncheon, a local tradition for many.
“It’s an important event,” said Leanne Shearer, chief operational officer for United Faith Housing Corporation and admission director of Harter House. “They help us tremendously.”
Harter House, established in 1977, is an independent living facility which is home to more than 65 residents. Vermillion Place is a licensed assisted living facility, about 10 years old, which currently houses 47 residents. The two facilities come under the umbrella of the United Faith Housing Corporation, the not-for-profit ministry of a consortium of area churches.
The Isabel Society’s mission is to promote the health, security, happiness and usefulness in longer living of the UFHC residents. Their annual autumn event is one of their key fundraisers.
This year’s buffet event will include Isabel test-tasted and approved savories and sweets like Cranberry Chicken Salad, Holiday Pinwheels, Veggie Skewers, Caramel Heavenlies and plenty more, including the traditional favorite party meatballs.
Isabel Society board members planned and previewed all the dishes, but, for the first time, the preparation is being placed in the able hands of Sonja Hurley. Hurley plans meals at Harter House as its food service manager, and also offers catering services to outside groups. She is donating her catering services for the society’s event.
“We’ve tasted the food. We’ve seen it,” said Lou Ann Brown, president of the Isabel Society. “I think everybody will be thrilled that we’ve gone this direction.” Those attending the luncheon will each go home with a cookbook containing all of the recipes from the day’s menu.
Diners will enjoy the food in a scene carefully set by the society’s decorating committee.
“It’s a really pretty event. They always have everything decorated,” said Shearer.
Music is also part of the experience. Mark and Michele Murray will present a special performance with a variety of trumpet and piano medleys.
Tickets for the event are $15, which goes to support the society’s endeavors.
“It’s such a good cause. We pitch in and do things that will make life more comfortable for the residents,” said Brown. “We’ve done a variety of things that enhance their enjoyment of where they’re living.”
Past projects have included refurbishment of the lounges and common areas of the facilities, large screen TV’s, a retractable awning for the deck at Vermillion Place and new carpeting. The society even commissioned the painting of a garden scene mural on the dining room wall at Harter House.
The group also throws a Christmas party for the residents each year.
“For some, it may be the only Christmas celebration,” said Brown. “They really enjoy that evening.”
Bob Reeder, president and chief executive officer of UFHC recognized the vital role of the society, saying, “The Isabel Society plays a very special part in the ministry of United Faith Housing. We couldn’t effectively carry out this ministry without them.”
The Isabel Society currently has an active membership of 23 ladies. They meet once a month from September through May.
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