A little bit of history about one of our loyal donors: The Ladies Benevolent Society of Wilmington , formed in 1845, was a group dedicated to the care of elderly poor women. They initially sponsored a home on 7th St. known as “The Old Ladies Rest”; as they grew, they moved to different Wilmington locations, ending up at 207 S. 3rd St . It operated as a non-profit, non-sectarian rest home from 1852 to 2000. Catherine DeRosset Kennedy (1800-1889), was a Methodist church leader who founded the Society.
Upon her death in 1889, the rest home was re-named in her honor. It was believed to be the oldest residential facility for the elderly in the United States. Originally, residents were limited to women 62 and older; in 1964 the rules were altered to admit men and married couples as well. For over 60 years, annual fundraising teas were held as society events in Wilmington. Initially, they were linen teas, receiving linens for use in the house; they then became “silver teas”, accepting gifts of old family silver.
In 1968, seventy-two seniors lived in the home, but occupancy dropped steadily in the 1980’s; the Home closed in 2000 due to a decline in residents and the health care coverage. The Home’s board reorganized as a charitable foundation in 2001, using its endowment to continue the mission to aid groups meeting the needs of the elderly. Each year they have awarded grants to support charitable, non-profit organizations involved in providing services to improve the general health and welfare of the elderly of New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.
Our Center has been honored to be a recipient of this grant every year since its inception in 2003.Once again, we were blessed to be one of the recipients of a grant from the Catherine Kennedy Home Foundation this year. We have a large population of seniors aging in place, and this grant helps us tend to their needs.
Please keep us in your prayers as we do our best to serve these valued members of our community during these challenging times. We are still operating on a limited basis with ‘curb service; looking forward to expanding our services in a few months.