Hospice House Foundation looks for volunteers, gains town support- By Travis Tallent

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Thursday, 10 April 2014 Written by Travis Tallent – Staff Writer

Reesa Boyce volunteers for HHF. She says experience has shown her how great the need is in Macon County.

Reesa Boyce volunteers for HHF. She says experience has shown her how great the need is in Macon County.

The Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina (HHF) is looking for volunteers willing to give tours of the future Hospice House located on Maple Street in Franklin.

The facility will serve the western most counties in N.C. by providing hospice and respite care to families and their loved ones who are ill and may be approaching the end of their lives. Medical professionals will be on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as chaplains, social workers and volunteers to assist patients and their families a difficult time.

The existing home will be used for the family area, the chapel and offices while an addition will be constructed to include an elevator, care area (nurse’s stations, offices for social workers and chaplains), medicine rooms, spa rooms and the six inpatient suites and six residential suites, all with sleep accomodations for a family member or friend.

Before the hospice house can be fully realized, the HHF must raise more than $2 million to complete renovations to its existing location. In the meantime however, those who may be interested in helping out can contact HHF president Michele Alderson./

Volunteers are already extending themselves to provide tours around the home, each citing different reasons behind their decision to do so.

“Many years ago, I was the head of an alcohol and drug treatment center. When I first heard of hospice I thought that maybe it would be something I’d be interested in one day. I had a close friend who was sick and under hospice care,” said Reesa Boyce, a five year resident of Franklin. “During this time, my friend asked me to come sit at the house and gave me literature about the history of the hospice and I was really impressed. So I’m willing to put some energy and time into helping this become a reality. When I heard that the Hospice House here was looking volunteers, I looked to that experience as a reason to help out. I just believe in what they do so much. This facility will benefit the patients and the families so much.”

HHF looks to town board for support

HHF president Michele Alderson approached the Franklin’s Board of Aldermen on Monday night to request their support in gaining a grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The building reuse grant would provide $100,000. In order to receive the money, a government entity must make the request.

“As you know, the Hospice House Foundation received its Certificate of Need approval from the State in 2012 and, in January 2013, purchased a 2.74 acre residential property—the Dryman Home,” said Alderson. “The purpose of this grant is to use existing structures instead of letting empty buildings sit unused. Under those guidelines we qualify for the Building Reuse Grant as long as you all are actually requesting the grant.”

Of the $4.3 million project budget, about half has already been raised, including a $1 million match grant from the State Employees Credit Union and another $1 million in private donations.

According to Alderson, if the grant is funded, the town, as a government applicant must contribute a five percent ($5,000) cash match to the project which would be provided by the HHF in administrative fees.

“Of course, if you were to be the applicant of the grant, we would be more than willing to open our books to you,” said Alderson. The aldermen discussed the need that is apparent in Macon County and almost immediately showed support for the Hospice House. “I think the need is tremendous. My husband was in a Hospice House that was located in Asheville, “ said Alderman Barbara McRae. Alderman Farrell Jamison agreed, citing how he had been impacted by hospice care. “They took care of my mother,” he told the board.

Alderson told the board that she would like to see construction begin by the end of the year if the grant goes through and donations keep coming in. Upon her request, Jamison made a motion to make the grant request once the specifics were worked out with the grant writer and town attorney John Henning Jr. McRae seconded and the board voted unanimously to approve the request.

Relieved by the town’s support, Alderson welcomes the public to tour the house and see future plans for the space.

“We encourage folks to stop by when they see the open sign out front and we will give them a tour and answer their questions,” she said.

All donations are welcome. A pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held at Fatz Café this Saturday, April 12, from 7 to 10 a.m. This event will be hosted by Lamplighter/McCoy Real Estate on behalf of the HHF at a cost of $7 per person. http://www.maconnews.com/news/community/6547-hospice-house-foundation-looks-for-volunteers-gains-town-support

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