Legend has it that on one night of the year, Homeland Center is haunted by ghosts and goblins. Also, Zion Jones and Betty Wisepint-sized firefighters, princesses, Ninjas, and many, many Spidermans.

This is Homeland’s annual Trick or Treat, an evening in late October when residents and staff join to relive Halloween memories, celebrate family, and of course, get candy.

On this night, staff bring their youngsters, dressed in their Halloween finest, to trick or treat in Homeland’s hallways and gathering places. Homeland provides the candy that residents distribute.

As Homeland Center celebrates a year marked by glowing state inspections and the ability to provide increased benevolent

Barry Ramper at the 2015 board meeting
"The foundation of our future success is to provide consistent quality for residents and patients who have entrusted the end of their lives to use,'' said Barry S. Ramper II, President and CEO.  

care, the kudos came with a word of caution. 

In the highly regulated health care field, few organizations reach Homeland’s level of quality, said President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II during the recently held annual meeting of the center’s boards of Trustees and Managers. He warned, however, that today’s success is not simply guaranteed tomorrow. 

“The only way success will happen in the future is if we make it happen,’’ Ramper said. “The foundation of our future success is to provide consistent quality for residents and patients who have entrusted the end of their lives to us.’’ 

Homeland Hospice, which earlier this year started Central Pennsylvania’s only dedicated pediatric hospice program, continues to grow and receive superior quality assurance reports that set it apart from its peers. 

“We have an unbelievably good staff that works with families,’’ Ramper said of Homeland Hopsice. “They provide a service that is almost broaching what most would believe to be impossible to do.’’ 

In keeping with its mission to help those in need, Homeland Center provided $3.3 million in benevolent care for residents, a 32 percent increase. The money benefits residents whose true cost of care is not covered by medical assistance and residents who have exhausted all of their assets. 

Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter, sitting in the dunk tank, teased Richard Wise.

Chief Carter gets dunked at the 2015 Summertime Fair
Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter, who volunteered to help raise money by getting dunked, said he appreciates the prominent role Homeland Center plays in the community.  

“You can’t throw,” Carter told the Steelton boy. Richard responded with a pitch that hit the target and sent Carter into the water.

Carter’s dunk tank appearance was the featured event at Homeland Center’s annual Summertime Fair, held Aug. 1, 2015. When Homeland staff met and exceeded his challenge to raise $7,500 for the resident activities fund, he took his perch on the dunking seat.

(See the PennLive coverage here)

Carter said he believes in Homeland’s mission and appreciates its prominent role in the same Harrisburg community where it was founded in 1867 as the “Home for the Friendless.”

“They are still friendly to the neighborhood,” Carter said. “They have a vested interest. I have that same vested interest. We have a natural love for the city.”

Homeland hires much of its staff from the surrounding community, where “neighbors look out for neighbors, and there’s very little to no crime,” said Carter, dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt and athletic shorts for his plunge. The dunking offered “an opportunity for people to meet the chief without all the official stuff on,” he said.

The total $8,500 raised before Carter’s dunking supports a range of activities, including music therapy for residents in the dementia and Alzheimer’s unit and in skilled care. Music therapy has helped Homeland reduce the use of psychotropic medications for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients below suggested federal levels.

Since 1986, Open Stage of Harrisburg has given theatrical life to stories of love, memory, conflict, and courage.

Gloria Jackson
Resident Gloria Jackson says she is pleased every day to see her son Albert, who is one of Homeland's well-known community receptionists.  

Since 1867, Homeland Center has provided shelter, care, and dignity for people with stories of their own to tell.

So it was only natural that these two highly regarded institutions join forces. For the 2015 production of “Stories from Home: People Who Care,” Open Stage turned to Homeland for true stories demonstrating how a community cares for those who can’t care for themselves.

Stories from Home: People Who Care” is the fourth and final production in Open Stage’s series on how the people of Harrisburg have shaped its character and its neighborhoods. Homeland’s storied history made it an ideal subject – the tale of 18 women who, after the Civil War, raised money, donated land, worked with nine churches, and enlisted businessmen to help create a home for the many destitute widows and orphans in their midst.

“They made it happen,” says Open Stage Education Director Anne Alsedek.  

Today, Homeland has grown into a continuing care community offering skilled care, personal care, a specialized dementia unit, and short-term rehabilitation. No resident whose resources are depleted has ever been asked to leave. Still, Homeland remains rooted at the spot where “The Home for the Friendless” was founded in 1867.

“It’s extraordinary,” says Alsedek. “The culture there, the environment, the atmosphere is extraordinary. All the residents can talk about is how well cared for they are and how well treated they are. They’re given freedom. They’re given autonomy. They’re quite content there. The whole place was founded on extraordinarily humane principles, and those principles have been maintained for almost 150 years.”

Generous contributions make it possible for Homeland Center to provide in excess of $2 million in annual benevolent care


HARRISBURG, PA (Friday, May 8, 2015) – Sixty charter members of the new 1867 Society of Homeland were

1867 Society Honor Wall
From right: President/CEO Barry S. Ramper II; Morton Spector, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; and Peggy Purdy, Chairwoman of the Board of Managers, unveil The 1867 Society of Homeland Honor Board.  

honored today for generous donations that make it possible for Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice to care for those in need. 

The 1867 Society was created and tasked with raising $20 million by 2020 to support the more than $2 million in benevolent care Homeland provides annually. All donations are tax deductible. 

“The pledges these 60 charter members have made to our endowment brings us more than halfway to our goal,’’ said President /CEO Barry S. Ramper II. “Their generosity guarantees that future generations of Central Pennsylvanians will be able to count on the quality senior care Homeland Center and Homeland Hospice provides.’’ 


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