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Friendship Ctr. relying on kindness of strangers

June 6, 2011

This painting of Devil’s Postpile is being raffled to benefit the local day and respite care facility for Alzheimer’s patients, the Friendship Center. The painting can be viewed at James Ferrell’s State Farm Insurance office on Main Street in Bishop. Photo submitted

With no financial help from state or federal government agencies, the local Alzheimer’s day care and advocacy group is looking for outside donations to keep the doors open and to continue services to the community.
The Friendship Center in Bishop is currently only seeing clients one day a week and is open one additional day a week to host a support group. The center is hoping the raffling of an original oil painting of Devil’s Postpile by former local artist, Carol Lucas, will help it stay above water.
The painting of the columnar basalt formation will be on display at James Ferrell’s State Farm Insurance Office on Main Street in Bishop. The painting was on display at this year’s Home Show and is hoping the Mule Days crowd will help in its latest fundraising efforts.
“It’s really a beautiful, and from what I’ve heard expensive painting,” said the center’s Director Pat Calloway.
The raffle drawing will be on Sunday, Nov. 13 at a “For the Love of Swing” benefit concert at Whiskey Creek in Bishop.
The center has been through the proverbial wringer starting in September 2009, when then-Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger line-item vetoed funding for similar programs. The cut to the center equalled $70,000 – its entire budget from the state.
The center was forced to move from its rented location to its original location and current sponsor, the First United Methodist Church in Bishop. Unfortunately, the church was not a licensed facility and so was threatened with fines for operating at an unlicensed facility by the Social Security State Licensing board.
“We didn’t want to close the doors,” Calloway said. “Once a program closes it takes almost an act of Congress to get it opened again.”
She said that with the lack of any funding the center relies heavily on the kindness of strangers. “We exist on stuff like this and some grants, but those are limited.”
The center is open and has been accepting clients since the beginning of 2011 as well as offering consultations and talks on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The center is located at the First United Methodist Center, 205 N. Fowler St. in Bishop. Friendship Center services are from 1:30-3 p.m. on Mondays, for family consultations, outreach and a support group for family members. Concurrent, free attendant care for dementia sufferers is provided during the sessions. The center is open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Wednesdays, for social day care, lunch, music and activities for dementia sufferers or other seniors.
This program is under the auspices of the non-profit group United Methodist Social Services, Inc., which also operates the Soup Kitchen, Project for Independent Living and The Spirit of Recovery.
Raffle tickets are available at the center during business hours, or the church from 8 a.m.-noon Tuesday-Friday. Tickets are also available from Advisory Board members including Sharon Brown (760) 872-3502, Cheryl Underhill (760) 920-0106, Gail Dull at (760) 872-6660, Roberta Cummings at (760) 873-3058, Pat Powell at (760) 387-2140 and Mary Mae Kilpatrick at (760) 873-6690. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20.
For more information call Calloway at (760) 872-3871 or (760) 938-2304.

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