NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Every morning special guests are greeted at the Nacogdoches Treatment Center as if it's their very first arrival. "Good morning Miss Annie," greets one volunteer. A staff member provides a hug to another with, "Hi sweetness."
They have Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. For the next four hours they'll be cared for, while their loved ones, usually a spouse, gets a well deserved break from the grueling responsibility.
"It's been a God send for us, I'll tell you for sure. It really has," expressed Jack Heard. He's on his way to a dental appointment while his wife Peggy spends some time at the Treatment Center. Other times he goes back home to catch up on cooking, laundry and rest.
The Treatment Center wanted to offer more by expanding to a 24 hour, seven day a week assisted living center. There were expectations for state funding. Then the unexpected happened.
"The funding that we were pretty confident would be coming due to the economic crisis has just not been able to be provided to us," explained Kathy Strong, the center's director.
Unfortunately, the center had already made the tough announcement that its longstanding Christmas bazaar would be canceled. "We couldn't actually make people leave to have the bazaar," Strong said of the previous decision. "With a living center there wouldn't have been enough space for the hundreds of handmade items that are sold at the bazaar."
Then another unexpected happening. Volunteers rallied. They wouldn't let the state legislature also kill the Treatment Center bazaar. They gather each Tuesday, busily making Christmas decorations to sell in the bazaar. Items normally started back in the spring are being made with the bazaar less than a month away.
"Our major fund raiser is the bazaar. And not only is it a fund raiser, but it's PR for us because we have people come year after year," Scotty Sherrill, volunteer and former director said.
The Treatment Center's day program and weekend respite care continues. More than ever its future relies on the community's support.
The Nacogdoches Treatment Center welcomes volunteers to make the crafts. The Christmas bazaar is on Thursday evening, November 12th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Doors will open the following Friday at 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Quilt raffle, silent auction, bake sale, chicken spaghetti lunch, and the Christmas crafts for sale will be just some of the continued traditions that have been going on for at least 30 years.