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Betty Hungerford: A Tapestry of Friendship and Professional Success

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betty hungerfordMentor. Friend. Champion. Ask those closest to Betty Hungerford, director of development for Homeland Center, and these words immediately come to mind. Whether her friends and colleagues have known her for decades or days, one thing rings true. To know Betty is to love Betty for her compassion, strength, and empathy for others. Homeland Center will pay tribute to Betty at its 155th Anniversary Celebration Event on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Hilton Harrisburg.

Kelly Lick and her late husband Ted knew Betty and her late husband Paul socially for many years. When Ted was in his end-of-life journey, he received services from Homeland Hospice. Kelly was impressed by Homeland’s support and found comfort and peace knowing Ted received the best care possible. After Ted’s death, Betty reached out to Kelly and offered her an opportunity to volunteer. This began a close personal friendship and professional relationship which has lasted more than 10 years.

“Betty took me under her wing,” Kelly says. “She knew how it felt to lose a husband and helped me begin to move forward.”

Kelly began volunteering on fundraising efforts with Betty to benefit the residents of Homeland Center and the clients and patients receiving services through its outreach efforts. Kelly wanted to personally express her gratitude to Homeland by giving back charitably to the organization. She helped support the development of a library and the purchase of a van for Homeland’s residents.

With each meeting and event, Kelly slowly began to find her footing in the circumstances of her new life. Each step of the way, Betty was there to offer her support. As the years passed, Kelly and Betty’s friendship grew deeper in admiration and respect.

“We can all learn so much from Betty,” Kelly adds. “She is always thinking of others and how she can help ease their troubles.”

Today, Kelly is supporting Homeland’s upcoming 155th Anniversary Celebration Event honoring Betty by serving on the sponsorship committee. She is incorporating the lessons she learned through Betty into a magical event to honor her friend.

Like Kelly, Carlyn Chulick, a member of Homeland’s Board of Trustees, grew to become a close friend of Betty’s when she began volunteering for Homeland. Betty recognized Carlyn’s potential for volunteer leadership and helped her take on the role of chair for development committee.

For Carlyn, her involvement with Homeland has grown because of the organization’s culture of caring practiced by leaders like Betty as well as Homeland’s dedication to new and innovative ways of supporting families in their time of need.

Carlyn is currently helping to lead the planning efforts of Homeland’s upcoming celebration event. Throughout the planning process, Carlyn has seen firsthand many busy professionals stepping up to volunteer because of their admiration for Betty.

“Betty has impacted so many lives in our community,” Carlyn says. “Personally, I have learned the importance of building lasting relationships.”

Betty, affectionately known as the “Queen B,” has created a commendable personal and professional life by building and maintaining strong relationships. Betty’s pride and love for her children and grandchildren is abundant as is her belief in her “adopted children,” a name Betty uses for the countless men and women who were friends of her children or neighbors. Betty has remained by their side as they have grown into adulthood. She is never too busy to stop to listen about their professional achievements or milestone events in their personal lives.

With a full social calendar, Betty still finds time to indulge in her love of sports. She loves attending baseball games at Yankee Stadium with her grandson who works for the organization. She is an avid college basketball fan – especially when Duke is playing – and tries to catch most football games.

Spend a few minutes with Betty and it’s easy to wonder how she keeps up her busy schedule, but there lies the secret to Betty’s success. Love what you do and surround yourself with people who are destined to bloom, and a bee will pollinate her world with purpose, compassion and a legacy that will be remembered for generations.

“When you think of Harrisburg, you think of Betty,” Kelly says. “People will remember her for years to come because of the extraordinary impact she has made on our community.”

For more information about Homeland’s 155th Anniversary Celebration Event honoring Betty Hungerford visit homelandanniversary.org or call (717) 221-7885. Proceeds will benefit Homeland’s benevolent care programs, which provide financial assistance for individuals in need of care.

A Home of Hope for 155 Years: The History of Homeland

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historical photograph of the Home for the FriendlessThe Civil War (1861-1865) took our country through some of its darkest days as states and families found themselves on opposite sides of the fight. When the war ended on April 9, 1865, our country had lost more than 620,000 soldiers with countless others scarred with injuries rending it impossible for them to work and provide for their families. Out of this devastation, the Home for the Friendless was formed. Today, we know the organization as Homeland Center. While its name and scope of work has changed with the times, the organization remains a home of hope for those in need.

Homeland Center resides on Sixth Street in Harrisburg. Prior to the City of Harrisburg assigning street numbers, the thoroughfare was known as Ridge Avenue because the land sat high above the Susquehanna River. Ridge Avenue was a desirable part of town, with well-kept detached houses and ample farmland.

soldiers mustered at camp curtin

Image courtesy Jeb Stuart

At the start of the Civil War, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin issued a proclamation asking for 13,000 men to volunteer to serve the Union. Within three days, thousands of men converged into Harrisburg. Eighty acres of farmland on Ridge Avenue was transformed into Camp Curtin, named in honor of Governor Curtin, to serve the needs of the growing Union army.

“Harrisburg’s railroad lines made it an ideal location for moving men and supplies during the war,” says David Morrison, executive director of the Historic Harrisburg Association. “Camp Curtin played a critical role in the war as a hospital, supply depot and mustering point.”

More than 300,000 soldiers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and the regular army used Camp Curtin during the war. More military units were organized there than at any other camp in the Union.

“Soldiers traveling through Camp Curtin caused a surge in population,” David adds. “Resources, like fresh food, were in high demand.”

historical photograph of broad street market

Image courtesy Jeb Stuart

The Broad Street Market, which is now located on North Third Street, was built so farmers could help feed the troops. Soldiers also accessed fresh produce from the vegetable gardens grown and tended by the patients at the Harrisburg State Hospital, which opened in 1851 on a large tract of land located on Cameron and Maclay Streets.

When the Civil War ended, the Harrisburg community was at a crossroads. The demand for resources during the war propelled the industrialization of transportation via the rail and canal system as well as the construction of the nation’s first steel mill.

At the same time, the region was devastated by the loss of soldiers’ lives and the impact of the loss on the loved ones they left behind. Wives, widows, and parents struggled to provide for dependent family members without the support of deceased and disabled husbands and sons. In December of 1866, the Harrisburg Patriot called attention to “the large number of children who are daily to be seen on our streets in a ragged, forlorn condition.”

“Our community did not have a safety net of services in place,” David says. “Women and children were living in abject poverty and needed help on a large scale.”

On November 21, 1866, representatives of nine city churches concluded a shelter was needed to serve Dauphin County. The “Society for the Home for the Friendless” was formally chartered in May of 1867 and operated out of a rented house at Third and Mulberry Streets. In 1870, the Society broke ground on the original house, which still stands.

The Home for the Friendless served children (mostly girls) and elderly women for the first 40 years. The organization carried out a dual mission of providing for the health and comfort of the elderly residents as well as educating the children for future employment. The Home made expansions and improvements over the years leading up to its transformation to Homeland Center in the 1950s.

Homeland Center buildingIn 1955, the Home unofficially changed its name to Homeland Center to represent its philosophy on the care of its residents. Over the following years, Homeland opened its services to men, added additional wings to the original building and modernized the existing infirmary to serve as a skilled nursing unit.

Today, Homeland provides a wide array of services to the citizens of the greater Harrisburg region, including personal care services, skilled nursing care, a safe and secure environment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as at home care and hospice services.

For all of these people, Homeland Center is what the founders intended it to be: a home. Homeland looks back to the values and idealism of the 1860s. At the same time, it looks forward to new ways of living and new ways of caring.

Homeland Center and Homeland at Home will celebrate its 155th anniversary of serving central Pennsylvania, and pay tribute to Betty Hungerford on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Hilton Harrisburg. To learn more, visit homelandanniversary.org.

Homeland’s 155th Anniversary Celebration Honoring Betty Hungerford
Join Us for An Event Like No Other

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An anniversary like no other honoring a woman like no other calls for a celebration like no other. Homeland Center will celebrate its 155th anniversary of serving central Pennsylvania, and pay tribute to Betty Hungerford on Sunday, May 15, 2022, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Hilton Harrisburg. This event, produced in grand, theatrical style will be one for the history books.

For two decades Betty Hungerford has served as the director of development for Homeland Center. Homeland is a private, nonprofit retirement community in Harrisburg. To know Betty is to know Homeland for she is a steadfast champion of the organization. This year Betty will celebrate her 90th birthday. Betty’s birthday, coupled with the historic service of Homeland Center, makes it the perfect time to honor two cherished treasures in our region.

Tom Hostetter, Betty’s longtime friend, is the artistic director and guest writer of the event. Tom will bring his legendary creativity to the occasion to create a unique and magical night for attendees. Tom is well known for his tenure as artistic director of Theatre Harrisburg where he worked for 28 years.

“We are incorporating live performances and video interviews to capture Betty’s influence in our lives,” Tom says. “Every aspect will feature part of Betty’s history.”

As a passionate supporter of the arts, music will help tell Betty’s story. The night will include performances of “Till There Was You,” from the Broadway musical The Music Man along with “I Am What I Am,” which is a key thematic musical moment from La Cage aux Folles. Both pieces are sentimental favorites for Betty. The Music Man was the first show she saw with her beloved, late husband Paul.

In addition, Voices of the Valley, an alumni chorale of Lebanon Valley College, will perform a selection as well as the school’s alma mater. Betty is a graduate of LVC and holds fond memories of her time there.

Between the live performances, video interviews featuring Betty’s children, friends and colleagues will be shared to highlight the mutual love, dedication and respect Betty and Homeland have for each other.

For Tom, producing this milestone event is an opportunity to express his admiration for Betty and her unprecedented career with Homeland.

“It is an honor to pay tribute to Betty,” Tom says. “I am grateful for her friendship and all she has done to make our community a better place.”

Homeland was founded in 1867 as the “Home for the Friendless,” to serve families impacted by the devastation of the Civil War. Today Homeland Center is a personal care home and skilled nursing facility. Homeland also provides hospice, home care and home health services to serve the diverse and changing needs of families throughout central Pennsylvania.

Don’t miss out on this historic event. Opportunities to support Homeland’s 155th Anniversary Celebration Honoring Betty Hungerford are now available at homelandanniversary.org, or by calling (717) 221-7885. Proceeds will benefit Homeland’s benevolent care programs, which provides financial assistance for individuals in need of care.

 

Poster credits: The Music Man | David Klein (American artist) | Theatre posters of the United States, 1957

Betty Hungerford: A Beloved and Revered Community Treasure

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By Janice Black:

Historically, women have been agents of change through the donation of their time and passion. Over the past several decades, women have moved into the forefront of social transformation by galvanizing their philanthropic power. With each step into a leadership role, women have inspired others to join them. For our region, the result is a powerful network of strong female leaders committed to making our community a better place to live.

betty hungerford, director of developmentWhen I think of the many women in south central Pennsylvania who have dedicated their lives to social change, I think of my friend and colleague Betty Hungerford.

Ask Betty to describe herself and she will say, “I am who I am,” which is the theme song from La Cage Aux Folles, one of Betty’s favorite Broadway musicals. Ask that same question to community and business leaders, as well as anyone who has ever turned to her in need, and they will tell you she is one of the greatest of the Greatest Generation.

Betty has been a professional in the field of development and public relations for more than 35 years. Since 2000, she has served as the director of development for Homeland Center, which celebrates its 155 anniversary next year. Homeland Center, a private, nonprofit retirement community in Harrisburg, is part of the City’s deep and rich history of loving and serving thy neighbor. To know Betty is to know Homeland for she is a steadfast champion of the organization.

For Betty, there is little separation between work and home life, for she loves each fiercely and finds true joy and purpose in her work.

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something,” Betty likes to say.

Betty’s “something” has been to change the charitable giving landscape to advance the causes she is most passionate about. She has secured financial and community resources to support the work of Homeland Center and its robust benevolent fund to help those in need.

Betty is a decorated alumna of Lebanon Valley College, receiving an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2009. She is the recipient of countless recognitions and honors, most notably the Karen Snider Women in Philanthropy Award in 2017. Like Betty, Karen was a tireless advocate for our community’s most vulnerable residents.

I believe Betty’s servant leadership is second to none, and I find seeing her in action inspirational. As a longtime member and past president of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg, Betty’s entrance at a luncheon meeting is an event. She is greeted at the door and accompanied to her seat by friends and colleagues who want just a minute of their revered “Queen B’s” time. The conversations are often around the work of shared projects, expressions of gratitude for an act of kindness Betty has bestowed.

Whatever the topic of conversation, individuals of all ages and professions are drawn to Betty because of what we might learn from her. We all want to know how to stay passionate about community causes when the issues can be daunting and overwhelming.

From my perspective, Betty has found the recipe for continually reinvigorating herself by surrounding herself with a network of family and friends who mirror her spirit. She has created her own personal community of caring, which is one of the wisest lessons I’ve learned through my friendship with Betty. Surround yourself with those who believe we can all do good work and together we will. When one of us falls, and we all do, the others pick us up to continue our path forward and together we cross the finish line.

Anniversaries, like that of Homeland Center, are ultimately about the people who have kept the organization vibrant and strong. I cannot imagine Homeland Center without Betty or Betty without Homeland. Betty has been a magnet for donors, volunteers and community supporters to connect with the organization. Together, they have enriched countless lives.

To Homeland Center, congratulations on your upcoming 155th anniversary and to Betty Hungerford, you are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for your leadership.


Janice Black is the President & CEO of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (www.tfec.org), which connects donors with nonprofits helping to address the needs in Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry and Lebanon counties as well as Northern York.