LEXINGTON, Ky. — Sayre Christian Village (SCV) is a nonprofit senior living community located here with a valuable new employee named Elle.
How valuable is this employee? Without Elle, SCV wouldn’t be able to process the laundry and linens generated on campus and provide expected levels of comfort and care for residents and their families.
Elle is Sayre’s brand new 65-pound UniMac washer-extractor.
“With 130 residents to serve at the healthcare facility alone, laundry is an essential component of our daily operations at Sayre Christian Village,” shares Karen Venis, CEO. “Laundering facility and personal linens for 130 residents is no simple task, in fact we spend 18.5 hours per day laundering linens for our residents—that’s 6,752 hours per year!”
Sayre Christian Village has been serving older adults here and the surrounding Bluegrass region for more than 35 years. Elise Hinchman, vice president of marketing and development, says the facility is dedicated to providing quality housing, rehabilitation services and long-term nursing care reflecting Christian compassion for 375 residents on the campus.
SCV is the only nonprofit life-plan community in its county, which means that it provides independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory care and also short-term, long-term and out-patient rehab all on the same campus.
Hinchman says Sayre uses its on-premises laundry to process the facility’s linens (sheets, towels, etc.). In addition, the SCV does personal laundry for 130 residents on a daily basis on the campus.
Laundry staff processes the linens and laundry for SCV on two shifts: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and an eight-hour evening shift, usually 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
But the laundry can’t get processed when the equipment doesn’t work. That’s what happened with the facility’s 16-year-old, 65-pound UniMac commercial washer-extractor earlier this year.
According to Hinchman, it became difficult to find replacement parts and costlier to repair because of the washer-extractor’s age. Besides the washer-extractor, Sayre has three commercials dryers and not much else.
She says that due to its nonprofit status, Sayre has gotten very good at making a dollar stretch. In fact, the village’s maintenance team had patched and repaired the old washer as many times as they could, but it was finally beyond repair.
But also because the village is a nonprofit, funding isn’t easy to come by. With the washer-extractor going out of commission, SCV was looking at the possibility of having to send linen out to be processed.
“SCV Healthcare Center needed a new industrial washer desperately, but the $13,000 required was not in the budget,” says Hinchman. “If they had to rely on just one washer for the Healthcare Center, they knew that they wouldn’t be able to provide the level of comfort and care that residents and families were used to.”
Sayre Christian Village opted to raise the necessary funds to purchase a new washer-extractor.
Hinchman says the entire staff rallied around the “one campus, one mission” approach as the development team put together a series of fundraisers for the campaign. Half of the washing machine was funded by SCV’s own staff fundraisers, and that’s what they’re most proud of.
Here are just a few of the ways SCV raised funds over the three-month span:
- Community yard sale
- Golf umbrella sale
- Facebook birthday fundraiser
- Facebook peer-to-peer fundraiser
- Dine to Donate fundraisers at various restaurants
- The Burl Concert Fundraiser & Sponsorships
- Private donations from staff
“The campaign was successful because it was a very urgent, very immediate need that would affect both residents and staff,” Hinchman says. “We knew we had to ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’ to get the team to believe that we could earn this large amount of money needed.
“It just happened to be the same summer as the first man on the moon moonshot anniversary. There was so much buzz around that historical anniversary that we piggy-backed off the idea. The washer became our own moonshot goal. There was real anticipation, anxiousness and excitement building as we raced to raise the money.”
She says SCV opted to replace the machine with the newest UniMac 65-pound commercial washer-extractor because of its previous experience with UniMac and the outstanding service received from local distributor REM Laundry Systems.
“Our new machine is the same 65-pound capacity but is much more efficient and has created time savings with shorter and fewer cycles,” Hinchman shares. “We are able to do more loads now because of the high speed of the machine. The quality is great.
“The same amount of time is spent; however, we are keeping up much better and getting residents personal items back in a much more timely manner.”
She adds that SCV is grateful to REM Company, folks like the staff at The Burl where it held its concert and to all outside donors.
But why was the new machine named “Elle”? It played off the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Facebook fans were asked to name the washer-extractor since the campaign had been featured for three months on the platform, and followers were excited that the “mission” had been accomplished, according to Hinchman.
Fans had three choices for the name:
- Elle (for Apollo 11)
The winning name was “Elle,” and the machine features a nameplate that reads:
Named in Honor of the
50th Anniversary of
NASA’s Apollo 11
Installed August 7th, 2019