Friends of Westborough Senior Center respond to town’s actions
Westborough – The Friends of the Westborough Senior Center, Inc. released this statement this evening regarding the recent decision by town officials to sever all relations with the friends (http://www.communityadvocate.com/2013/07/22/westborough-breaks-ties-with-friends-of-senior-center) :
The Friends of Westborough Senior Center, Inc., a non-profit corporation run by volunteers, has been at the center of a firestorm after refusing to purchase certain items on a wish list presented by the Executive Director of the Westborough Senior Center.
In January of 2013, the Senior Center Executive Director presented to the Friends a wish list which included such items as jackets and shirts for staff drivers, hot bags/ coolers for Meals on Wheels, gift cards for volunteers, and ink replacements for copy machines and printers. After discussing the items on the list, the Friends decided to not to fund any of these projects because they did not – in the view of the Friends – directly support seniors.
Since 1986, the Friends – a non-profit corporation run by volunteers – has raised funds for the purpose of supporting projects impacting seniors in the town of Westborough. Under their By-Laws, the Friends are self-governing and support “items not provided for by the Town of Westborough or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Further, the Friends are to “work with Senior Citizens, the Council on Aging, and the Executive Director” to “insure greater community interest and perpetuate the dignity and well-being of senior citizens of Westborough.”
According to Friends’ President, Priscilla Federici, the Friends are perplexed at the Town’s reported refusal to accept funds from the Friends in the future. Over the course of the past several years, the Friends have provided funds to purchase and install a handicap-accessible door at the Senior Center ($2,655.00), fire suppression system for the kitchen stove at the Senior Center ($2,100.00), purchase of window air conditioners for Mayberry Court seniors ($1,920.00), contributed toward an upgraded telephone system for the Senior Center office ($2,400.00), paid for the purchase and installation of the sign at the bottom of Main Street leading to the Senior Center ($5,000.00), paid for LifeLine service for a Westborough senior citizen over the course of the three years ($700.00), and many other projects.
The Friends are also concerned that their reputation is being smeared as a result of misinformation and innuendo. All funds contributed by the Friends to support senior projects have been raised by dues in the amount of $5.00 per year from 202 members and other fund-raising activities including the Fall Fair which raises less than $5,000.00 per year. (The 2012 Fall Fair raised $4,762.44. The Fall Fair of 2011 raised $4,235.10.) The total annual income of the Friends have never exceeded $10,000.00 in any calendar year.
“We are stunned that the Town has decided to sever a relationship with an organization which has devoted its entire income to support worthy senior projects simply because we did not agree to fund the Executive Director’s pet projects,” said Ms. Federici.
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