Fundrasier BRC Executives Take Plunge For Homeless Shelter
By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 2/1/20
A little snow did not stop Bridgewater Retirement Community from having an ice spa day for charity.
On Thursday afternoon, four women from the senior team braved the snow and took a dip in a dunk tank to raise money for Open Doors as a part of the monthly outreach program Community Connections.
Open Doors is a web of faith communities that operate a rotating, seasonal shelter for people who are homeless in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Anne O’Donohue, vice president of support services, Barb Frye, director of nursing, Carrie Budd, vice president of development and community relations, and Sarah Hagan, vice president of independent living, adorned bathrobes to sink in the frigid water at the BRC Oasis pavilion.
“It’s a fun way to rally around and raise funds,” Budd said.
Last year, the men of the senior team took the first swim and raised $675 for Open Doors’ “Loads of Love” mission, which provides laundry-cleaning services to people who are homeless in the area. This year’s group raised $1,506.
Community Connections is a committee comprised of over 40 residents and 90 team members who dedicate efforts to raise awareness and provide support to community projects each month.
Laura Ipock Powell, director of volunteer services, brought the winter fundraiser to BRC to bring awareness and start the dialogue of what hardships homeless populations face in the colder months.
“Gosh, it’s cold to think about the dunk tank, but think about the experience of someone who is homeless,” Powell said. “If they didn’t have a place to go like Open Doors, where would they go? How would that feel?”
According to the 2018-19 report from Open Doors, 183 individuals were housed last season, with an average of 44 guests per night.
On Jan. 11, Community Connection members washed clothes with “Loads of Love” and later served a meal to residents. February’s community group is the Bridgewater Rescue Squad, so the BRC team is hosting a dinner for the volunteers on Feb. 20.
“It’s a little outside the box for us, but it’s a fun event I know our team members and residents look forward to,” Powell said. “It’s great to get involved in the community and be able to learn about what other organizations are doing.”