As the sun set at Sherwood Country Club Friday, amidst the giggly chatter and bottomless bubbly, an uncomfortable topic; death.
“Without this annual event, we can’t operate,” said Our Community House of Hope founder, Teresa Wilson, who helped carefully craft an evening of fundraising big dollars for such a heavy topic.
With the eyes and ears of 250 potential donors in the room, the nonprofit hospice care has Jordan Snyder share his story. Wiping away tears, he speaks of his 66-year-old father, who died of lung cancer last week. He was in the care of OCHH.
“In the last few days, my mother and father, who never spoke, shared an emotional kiss,” Snyder said. “My father belched out in tears. I was in shock. This wouldn’t happen in a place where patients share rooms with others.”
The hospice care in Thousand Oaks can take four patients at a time and costs $35,000 a month to operate.
But this year, for the first time since the non-profit was founded in 2007, the founders have started charging families $150 per day for care.
“Our fundraising efforts in the past have been successful. But we need more,” Wilson said, adding that they will never turn a family away who cannot pay.
And, that comes at a cost.
“The caregivers are our biggest expense, and the rent,” Wilson said. “We’re crossing our fingers that someone buys us a house this year.”
The fundraiser left OCHOH feeling hopeful. By the end of the evening they raised an estimated $140,000, up $25,000 from last year.