Baubles, bangles, and beads. Plus, an Avengers puzzle and candy. Who doesn’t want a cheery gift for the holidays?
Even better, it was all packaged into one-stop shopping, with the Homeland Center Board of Managers’ annual holiday bazaar. Held before Thanksgiving, it’s a chance for residents and staff to experience the joy of giving without battling the crowds in stores and malls.
The Board of Managers has held the bazaar for at least 20 years and probably many more. This year, they operated a long line of tables in the Main Dining Room. Treasures beckoned, neatly organized by theme – holiday items, kids, décor, jewelry, and linens.
In the Florida Room, a bake sale tempted shoppers with cookies, desserts, and candy-filled jars decorated for gift-giving – no wrapping required.
Board of Managers members donate the baked goods and new or gently used bazaar items. The Board of Managers is the unique group of women devoted to upholding Homeland’s renowned quality of life and homelike feel. Proceeds go to the activities department, which can use the funds to buy supplies or bring in top-class talent for the music and entertainment programs that residents cherish.
Joyce Thomas, a Board of Managers member for 23 years, said that members “just clean out our houses” to stock the bazaar tables.
“The residents always find some little treasure,” she said. “They love their jewelry. They love their necklaces. They love their bracelets. They’re always looking for something to give to the grandkids.”
Resident Loretta Colestock snapped up the Avengers-themed puzzle for her superhero-mad great-grandson, age 8.
“He’s just at that age to like it,” she said. “This bazaar is a neat idea. They always do great things for us. I got some jewelry, something for my grandkids, and little jars of candy for the grown kids.”
Homeland’s busy, hardworking staff get a jump on their gift shopping, too. Director of Utilization Review Lisa Browne found a priceless birthday gift for her husband with custom-made golf clubs that once belonged to a resident, the late Stanley Fabiano. Lisa loved Stan dearly for his antics and his big heart, and she knew that her husband would appreciate his Cobra and TaylorMade titanium clubs.
“These are very unique clubs,” Lisa said. “My husband’s mother lives at Homeland now, so it brings everything together. This means a lot to me because of knowing Stan for years and years and years, and I cared about him so much. It’s very special.”
The bazaar also featured felt coasters handmade in wintry designs like snowmen, berries, and trees by Board of Managers members. Member Lindy Scholl designed the coasters and led laughter-filled sessions to cut and sew the pieces.
“Lindy even made dessert for us,” said Board of Managers Secretary Cathy Leeds. “She had carrot cake and a dump cake with cherries and pineapple. We are well taken care of as a group of women.”
The Board of Managers is also selling the 2024 Lottery Calendar to add to the holiday cheer. Buyers are entered to win daily cash drawings ranging from $30 to $100. At the same time, proceeds provide financial support and additional services for Homeland Center and Homeland at Home residents, patients, and clients in need.
This year’s calendar honors the nine Harrisburg churches and their women members, two from each church, who founded Homeland in 1867 as a refuge for the widows and children of the Civil War’s dead and disabled soldiers. Their legacy lives today as Homeland Center, Homeland at Home, and the 18-member, all-women Board of Managers.
At the bazaar, resident Nancy VanKirk bought children’s books and toys to donate to the Homeland Center gift shop, where she volunteers weekly. For only 10 or 25 cents, the mint-condition coloring books, crayons, and books on construction equipment would make great gifts for other residents to share with visiting grandkids.
“When kids have a birthday or something coming up, and the grandparents can’t get out to buy anything, they look for something the kids can enjoy,” she said.
Resident Carl Barna is known for growing vegetables and herbs in Homeland Center’s Catherine Elizabeth Meikle Courtyard for the enjoyment of Homeland residents. He bought a light-up snow globe at the bazaar that played “Silent Night.”
As always, Carl decided to share the delight with his fellow residents.
“I want to have that at our table in the dining room and play it while we’re sitting there eating,” he said. “I think this bazaar is excellent.”
Homeland Center offers levels of care including personal care, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. The outreach services of Homeland at Home provide hospice, palliative care, home health, and home care to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania. For more information or to arrange a tour, please call 717-221-7900.