Fun in Panorama’s Barn?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

I got up early on Friday to get to the Barn. Glad restrictions are lifting . . . I can call to get a ride with Resident Transit. Drivers started up again too (only on-campus transports). I can hardly wait. So much fun over there!

Timed to a TEE! As I strolled my walker through the automatic entrance doors, Jerry looked up waving with his sanitizing wipe and called through his colorful mask, “Oh, hi, Mary Jo! Good to see you again. I’m getting the backseat ready for you! You are my first passenger since we just started driving again. We have a few new things to remember to do.”

After he put my walker in the opened rear door, we headed toward the Barn.

“Jerry, thank you for volunteering to drive. Since we came in 2011, I’ve always said this is one of the most appreciated services for those residents who would not be able to walk far and then walk back home. Especially to and from the Barn.”

In four minutes, two Barn volunteers, seeing Panorama Resident Transit’s dedicated SUV, actually came out to welcome me!

“May I bring my walker inside? Or should I leave it out here. I know it’s usually a tight squeeze inside.”

“On no, not anymore. Sure! Bring it in.”

“Whoa! This is amazing. I knew you were doing an overhaul and sprucing up, but this place looks soo much bigger, tidier, organized, and the white floors are immaculate. I know I only have 30 minutes, so I’m going to get started.” 

One volunteer counted the bodies in the room. “I’m going to step outside until the resident paying at the cash register leaves. We don’t want to go over our guidelines.”

Sure enough, it was rather quiet, since we had no time to visit and lists were long. I had to bite my lips to keep from exclaiming and thanking. I passed small appliances, office supplies, crafts, fine china, kitchen, tools, and car/garage things. No more lugging large, worn-out cardboard boxes from under tables to rummage for items that did not win a place on the table. Notice in a photo the yellow pull-down electric outlets hanging from ceilings for testing purposes!

When I asked where some items were, my answer came immediately.

So why a Barn . . . where does all the STUFF come from? Where does the money go?

Panorama has a unique Benevolent Fund (BF). It’s an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by residents to benefit residents. The Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to independent living and assisted living residents who have outlived their financial resources. Since starting in 1972, it has given more than $2.5 million directly to residents who were in need. The Benevolent Fund presents each resident a free SARA® pendant the first day they become a resident. We press the pendant if we fall or are in an emergency situation anywhere on our campus.

It also funds the three full-time Social Services Advisors in Independent Living Services. Those advisors help us as we age in place.

When ending up with things we no longer need, we may call our Stiles-Beach Barn and/or Encore Furniture and Books on campus to make an appointment for pick-up. A large white truck, with several Benevolent Fund volunteers, show up at our door to haul our items away to the appropriate building to be priced and sold . . . by other happy, cheerful volunteers.

To add to the Benevolent Fund in normal summers, they typically host the popular, more-than-huge Panorama Annual Patio Sale with volunteers selling items that were not sold during the rest of the year. No need to look at the price: it IS too good to be true!

Driver Jerry arrived on time. I buckled my seatbelt, but immediately unbuckled it. “Jerry, I can’t leave yet. Gotta go inside the Barn again to take some pictures for the blog. I must write about this experience and the improvement Panorama and the volunteers did to get this going for us during COVID.”

I tore inside again! “Hey, I need to snap a quick picture of this place for my next blog.” Kathy, Roxanne, and Larry gathered per my request, so you, Reader, could have a glimpse of how we are blessed here at Panorama.

Do you see why I was excited to get up on Friday to have “fun at the BARN”?

Diane Stiles (left) & Jo Love Beach (right)

Note: Diane Stiles and Jo Love Beach were the two most lovingly dedicated women who spent their years at Panorama improving and running the Barn until their deaths in 2020. Jo Love Beach was Benevolent Fund President from 2003 to 2008. The Barn was renamed “Stiles-Beach Barn” in honor of them in 2016.

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