Open Arms: Mary Ryder Home
It’s natural to wish for security and companionship in your later years, especially as your body ages and you need more help with daily activities. Mary Ryder Home, a nonprofit residential community for low-income senior women, understands the need to feel cared for and puts that empathy into practice every day, says development coordinator Emily Woll. Located in the Central West End, the home offers enriching activities, nutritious meals, medication support, help with daily tasks and personal care around the clock.
Providing for the needs of more than 60 women is a labor of love, but it also requires ongoing financial support. To raise funds, the organization hosts its annual Jubilee gala. “Our community was founded in 1930 and has held an annual fundraising event nearly every year since,” Woll says. “It used to be a pageant featuring young women, similar to a debutante ball, but it has evolved quite a bit!” Now it’s a festive gala that Woll calls “a celebration of friendship, family and community—and nearly 90 years of caring for women.”
Held May 4 at Ameristar Casino Resort, this year’s Jubilee will feature music from the Boeing Jazz Band and Mary Ryder Home Singers, a cocktail reception, dinner, silent and live auctions, and a Fund-Our-Need program to support specific projects. Guests can bid on silent auction items using their smartphones, and the winner of the Golden Raffle can choose from exciting items on the auction block. Centene Corp. is the evening’s presenting sponsor.
This year’s gala also celebrates Stefanie Osiek, who joined the staff of Mary Ryder Home in 2017 and recently took the helm when longtime administrator Tim Butler retired. The evening’s tagline is ‘Hip Hip Hurrah! Hats Off to All’ in recognition of the many contributions of people like Osiek, Butler, and caring staff members and volunteers.
Woll says this year’s Jubilee fundraising goal is $300,000. Proceeds will help fund facility improvements, social events, therapy programs, meals and ongoing medical needs like prescriptions. “We hope to purchase new beds and furniture for residents’ rooms and common spaces,” Woll says. “We also want to plan more fun activities for our ladies, like trips to Forest Park and holiday outings.” She adds that the residence is one of only a few in the area that are open to women regardless of their ability to pay—so fundraising support is critical.
“Everything is about friendship at Mary Ryder Home,” Woll says. “It’s such a positive environment. Each day, I feel like I’m in a fun sorority house of senior ladies. The dynamic among residents is very family-oriented; as soon as you walk in, you can tell who is the ‘den mother’ and who is the kind ‘aunt’ who wants to hear about your day.”
Mary Ryder Home provides a caring residential setting and supportive services for low-income senior women. Its 2019 Jubilee event will be held May 4 at Ameristar Casino Resort. Pictured on the cover, clockwise from back left: Karen Kitab, Joanie Eckert, Darlene Greenwood, Betty Jean Arrington, Judy Barnes. For more information, call 314.531.2981 ext. 232 or visit maryryderhome.ejoinme.org/jubilee2019.
Cover design by Allie Bronsky | Cover photo by Bill Barrett
Pictured at top: The Mary Ryder Home Singers entertain guests.
Photo courtesy of Mary Ryder Home
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