The Edgartown Council on Aging, also known as the Anchors, has a shiny new wood floor, the result of a generous gift from a local woman who died two years ago. And in the months ahead, the walls will be painted and the windows will be attended to as well.
The improvements are being paid for by the estate of Audry Richard, who grew up in town. The daughter of a fisherman, she was a sales clerk in local stores. Her husband, Edmond Richard, was a mechanic whose father was also an Edgartown fisherman. The couple had no children.
When Mrs. Richard died, she left a fund to the Friends of the Edgartown Council on Aging to be used on maintaining and improvements to the center. The Friends is a nonprofit organization begun nearly 20 years ago. Through the years they have allocated money but - this may be the most generous gift to date. The Friends did not disclose the amount.
To Paul Mohair, administrator of the council on aging, the new floor is far more precious than its dollar value, which is $15,000. “Replacing the floor is not in our operating budget. It is way beyond what we could afford,” he said. To make such a purchase would require a warrant article in town meeting. As a gift, the replacement of the floor is a huge boost to the center. “Our fiscal year budget is $260,000 to keep the place afloat. It includes salaries and keeping the building’s integrity,” Mr. Mohair said.
The center serves over 600 seniors and provides programs that go far beyond the town’s borders. “We are like all councils on aging. We are all inclusive,” Mr. Mohair said.
Prior to the new floor, Mr. Mohair said: “It was dreadful. How long does it take to trash a carpet when you serve thousands of meals a year? We steam cleaned that floor as often as possible, as our budget would allow. But all you had to do is get close to that floor for 30 seconds.”
According to Janice Belisle of Edgartown, a Friends treasurer, the organization spends close to $10,000 a year to help in the center’s mission. They do one big annual letter of appeal, which is sent in June. They do some fundraising, but much of the support they get comes from individuals.
“They are our support group, both spiritually and financially,” Mr. Mohair said. The group is cautiously generous. “They decide what they want to do. Most of the time they step up and help,” he said.
An additional $2,000 was also used to help install a new kitchen stove. Mr. Mohair said the center received a $6,000 grant to replace the old one, but no money to install it. The installation cost was high, Mr. Mohair said, because of a whole list of new building code requirements that had to be met, both for the propane and the electrical service.
The Friends will also underwrite the painting of the interior of the center, plus do some window treatments. The center recently received a new flat-screen television and they hope to have some movie-showing events.