When Sherice Anderson first joined Bethel Greencastle Community, part of Embrace Living Communities, as the Lead Manager overseeing the property, she made a point of visiting each resident to say hello. Over and over, the residents would tell her to stop by anytime and just walk right in. “I wasn’t quite sure they meant it, and I sure didn’t feel like I should just walk in whenever I wanted,” says Sherice. “But each was so loving and kind that I knew this was a unique place.”
A spiritual community
Bethel Greencastle Community (BGC) consists of 75 units across two buildings and is located just 10 minutes north of Kansas City, Missouri. On its campus sits Bethel United Church of Christ, which has been very welcoming and inclusive of the BGC residents.
“Each year, our residents put on a coat drive and a school supply drive for the community,” says Sherice. “The church gets involved with both, providing coats and helping the residents collect and distribute the supplies to needy schools.” The church also hosts a Thanksgiving dinner in which all residents are invited.
“Bethel UCC has been a wonderful neighbor, providing monthly spiritual programs for the residents and really playing a part in the overall experience of living here,” says Sherice.
A giving community
“What’s common across everyone who calls Bethel home is that they have a sense of community and truly care for one another,” explains Sherice. She tells a story of a new resident, who was moving into BGC. She had very few possessions, just some clothes and an old lawn chair. The residents and staff took notice. “It was amazing to see them come together and find furniture to give to their new neighbor,” says Sherice.
Other acts of kindness are seen throughout the year at BGC. One resident knits potholders for all her neighbors. “If you walk into any residence here, you’ll see one of her work sitting in their kitchen,” says Sherice.
During COVID-19, the residents got together to get gifts for the staff at nearby North Kansas
City Hospital to thank the heroes who were working so hard for the patients there.
And it’s not just the residents giving back; the staff does routine cleanup projects, walking a block each direction of the campus to pick up trash they find on the ground. They also provide annual picnics and holiday gatherings for the residents.
A ‘green’ community
Beyond the people who live there, what makes BGC unique is its energy efficiency. The campus provides green space, solar paneling and water conservation practices. “The tankless water heaters have proven to do us well,” explains Sherice. “And the solar panels not only help with energy conservation, but also benefit the residents in lowering utility costs.”
As for the overall green space and grounds, the residents take pride in their “backyard.” One group of neighbors built a flower bed outside their building, while the residents of the other facility plant flower pots that they bring inside during the winter to tend to.
Additional lighting has been added throughout the grounds, not only for aesthetics but also for safety to those who are out and about after dark.
A convenient community
It’s not just what sits on the campus of Bethel Greencastle Community that make the overall living experience special; it’s also what sits just off of the campus. “We are very fortunate for our location,” says Sherice. “It sits across the street from a small shopping island.”
Within walking distance, residents can find a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, nail salon, barber and much more.
“Those stores and services understand how much our residents support their businesses, so they are quick to support us as well,” explains Sherice. The grocery store allows residents to borrow their grocery carts to take items back to their homes. And all the businesses are quick to step up and help with BGC events or donation drives. “It’s a very unique relationship and a convenience to everyone here.”
The angels who call it home
Bethel Greencastle Community takes great pride in providing affordable housing to seniors, but it also takes pride in making it a unique and special experience. “We want to make sure that the people here don’t call it their apartment or unit as is the case with many senior housing communities, but they call it their home,” says Sherice. “And I give so much credit to the people who live here for making it feel that way.”
“People tell me that each of these special residents are my friend, but I tell them that they are my angels.”
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