A $500 donation by Denham Street Baptist Church was a boost in efforts to meet a $60,000 shortfall in the Alzheimer's Disease Respite Center's budget for the upcoming fiscal year but the donation drive still has a long way to go. Pat Brinson, executive director of the Alzheimer's Center, said as of last Friday, $7,785 had been donated.
Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley and Somerset Mayor Alan Keck asked each of Pulaski County's more than 64,000 residents to donate $1, or 6,000 citizen give $10, to make up for severe reductions in money from various sources that fund operations of the center.
Brinson said the center's three main sources of funds are from the city, county and United Way. She has been informed there will be a reduction in financial assistance from United Way and " ... the city and county are still working (on the amounts of assistance)," said Brinson. She expects less money from the local governments.
The county has been able to support the local Alzheimer's Center with coal severance funds secured by State Representative Tommy Turner. However, those funds have dropped from $58,000 in 2017-18 to $47,000 during the current fiscal year. The county's share of local government economic development funds has dropped to $27,000 for 2019-20, and Pulaski County Treasurer Joan Isaacs said the state has informed her the allocation is expected to drop to $19,500 in 2020-21
"We're coming to you (citizens) with an urgent need, Kelley said in a video produced by the judge-executive and Keck. "We want to help the Alzheimer's Center meets its budget shortfall ... we know you can help get that done," Kelley said.
Pastor Jeff Griffith at Denham Street Baptist Church and his congregation were quick to step up to the plate. Griffith said on Memorial Day Sunday, some 30 to 40 people "came down to the front" at the church service to make donations for the Alzheimer's Center in memory of veterans in their families who have served their country.
"One church member gave $50," Griffith said. "The money was for the Alzheimer's Center and a check for $500 was presented to Judge Kelley and Mayor Keck at the June 4 membership meeting of Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.
The Alzheimer's Center's budget for the current fiscal year is $121,000. Brinson said if the center cannot make up the $60,000 shortfall in next fiscal year's budget, " ... we'll go on as long as we can. Hopefully we won't look at closure. If we have to close we'll give families as much notice as possible."
Brinson said there are programs all throughout the day to keep the center's clients engaged. They participate in daily planned activities and move through a daily schedule that seeks to keep them engaged, alert and improve their quality of life.