The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Community

December 11, 2012

Elwood Sanitarium fundraiser donates to local organizations

ANDERSON, Ind. — As frightened people ran and screamed through the halls of the former Dickey nursing home in Elwood they weren’t thinking much about their part in helping several area organizations.

But over the past four years, proceeds from Elwood Sanitarium — a haunted house at the vacant nursing home run by Community Long Term Care (CLTC) volunteers — has raised more than $8,000 to help area organizations.

This year’s total, right at $2,000, is being distributed to six organizations: Rangeline Community Center, Christmas for Elwood, Summitville Fire Department, Community Hospital Foundation in care of the Alzheimer’s Association, Elwood Police Department’s Shop with a Cop and the department’s K-9 fund.

“This is just one way we help give back to the community,” said Beth Harpe, CLTC community relations director. “It’s been a great way for Community Long Term Care to build strong relationships in the surrounding communities and bring people into Elwood.”

In addition to raising money for different organizations, visitors to the haunted sanitarium can receive a discounted ticket with a donation of canned goods or a gently used coat. More than 400 pounds of canned goods have been donated to the Hope Center in Elwood and about 100 coats to Vest Cleaners’ coat drive over the past four years through the event.

The haunted house is staffed with volunteers from the area CLTC facilities that then pick which organization to donate their portion of the proceeds.

Diana Smith, CLTC director of finance, is the chairwoman for the fundraiser and began it after helping run a fundraising haunted house for her son’s baseball team.

“From the get-go it has been a great success,” she said. “Each year it has gotten bigger and better. And we change it so it is a different show every year. And the focus has always been on the community and how we can help it.”

In addition to volunteers from CLTC, Smith said they’ve formed a partnership with Elwood police where officers volunteer their time to keep the event safe.

A donation to Rangeline Community Center seemed like an obvious fit for volunteers to the sanitarium from Community Northview Care Center as residents there often participate in the free senior bingo that  Rangeline offers monthly, as well as many other programs targeted toward seniors.

Terri Williams, president of the board of directors for Rangeline, said they are happy to provide the entertainment and educational programming for area seniors and other community members.

“It is too early to say what we will use the money for but we run strictly on donations and what we make from renting the facility on the weekend so it is pretty significant to get this boost in funding,” she said. “We are happy to keep this great place for everyone to come together and socialize up and running.”

Rangeline office manager Jenny Coon said senior bingo is one of her favorite events.

“We have about 120 people come in from various nursing homes and we give away prizes and stuffed animals,” she said. “It is great to see how happy and excited they are. I know it means so much to them. We are grateful to get the donation to continue programming like this.”

Find Abbey Doyle on Facebook and @heraldbulletin on Twitter, or call 640-4805.

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