Cumberland Times-News

January 15, 2014

Even residents can’t afford what’s sold there

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— It is a fact of life that every day in our nursing homes, a resident dies — albeit a very sad fact. In October, in the Frostburg Village Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center, another death occurred.

However, it was not a resident. Sherry’s Village Gift Shop died, or rather, let me just say it was put to sleep.

The gift shop was a place where the nursing home residents could purchase a candy bar, a bag of chips, or a package of life savers, a comb, a tube of Chap-Stick, a package of batteries, a bottle of after shave lotion, a pen or pencil or even a gift for someone or a greeting card.

All of that disappeared with a half-price sale to clear out the gift shop.

According to the notice given the gift shop volunteers, the gift shop has served as a great resource for residents, families and staff over the years.

It was now time for the gift shop to evolve into a boutique with a variety of vendors providing their products as gifts. The gift shop opened in December as a boutique, jam-packed with beautiful items for sale. Beautiful items, yes, but expensive items. The gifts are not primarily for residents’ purchases.

Unfortunately, when the gift shop was remodeled and revamped (a word used in the closing notice) in October, the residents were not even considered in the new reconfiguration except to make sure a wheelchair could navigate within the space.

The gift shop has always been attended to by volunteers. In September 2012, I wrote a letter to the editor citing the need for more volunteers at the gift shop (“Nursing care center gift shop is in need of some volunteers,” Sept. 5).

Our numbers had dwindled quite rapidly over the last few years, but my letter brought a very positive response enabling us to open much more frequently than before.

The Frostburg Village Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center was established in 1978 under the auspices of the Tressler Lutheran Services.

When the nursing home opened, the late Mrs. Sherry Hafer saw the need for a gift shop where the residents could buy various sundry items and the family members and visitors of the residents could purchase small gifts or necessities for them.

In fact, Mrs. Hafer and three other volunteers were on their way to Pittsburgh on a buying trip when the tragic accident occurred that claimed Mrs. Hafer’s life. In due time, the gift shop became known as Sherry’s Village Gift Shop with a plaque bearing her picture and a tribute hanging prominently in the entrance of the shop.

Now, a name change is even being considered. It is sad to see the gift shop filled with items that the residents can’t afford. It was truly founded for the residents.

We have lost volunteers once again due to the requirements of a background check for which you must divulge your Social Security number. Some volunteers are refusing to do this; after all, how many times do we hear this admonition: Never give out your Social Security number!

Nancy Martens

Frostburg