Residents of Homecrest House celebrate royal birth with baby gift donations -- Gazette.Net


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They drank tea and ate tea sandwiches, bagels and lox, and scones in the Abraham Stahler promenade, with large, colorful hats atop their heads.

These weren’t British women having afternoon tea.

About 75 residents of Homecrest House in Silver Spring on Thursday celebrated the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby boy, Prince George.

Homecrest House is a subsidized senior community. Even though it is owned by the nonprofit National Capital B’nai B’rith Housing Foundation, about 290 people of all faiths, races, national origins and handicaps live there, according to Maria Karavangelos, its marketing and development coordinator.

Residents also contributed $1 each, which paid for a large basketful of diapers, infant clothes and blankets. The basket was donated to Family Services, a nonprofit in Gaithersburg that offers resources to young mothers, victims of domestic violence and mentally ill adults.

“Instead of just having a party, let’s give,” said Joe Podson, the executive director of Homecrest House. “It’s having a mission. Let’s have fun and let’s touch lives.”

Podson said he wants to form a connection between Homecrest House and Family Services, to offer education to the residents and support the nonprofit.

The gifts will help teenage mothers who come to Family Services with limited resources, according to Debra L.C. Liverpool, the director of philanthropy at the nonprofit.

“If I have a young mother come in we help them with everything they need,” she said. “They have a newborn baby and they need clothes. This is just perfect.”

Doris Torti, the program director of Homecrest House, planned Thursday’s tea party. She also planned the last one in 2011, when Prince William and Catherine Middleton — now the duke and duchess — married.

“The ladies have been asking for a new tea,” Torti said. “I said we have to do it with a theme and I thought of a mini-baby shower. We’ll all bring a gift.”

“It’s delightful, charming and uplifting,” said Molly Rayman, a resident of the house.

“It’s very festive and everyone is happy,” said Annette Seligman, another resident. “It’s good to dress up.”

Lynne Ketchum, who has lived at Homecrest House for a year, was dressed in white and black polka dots.

“Kate [Middleton] wears polka dots, so I decided to wear them,” she said.

Ketchum said she likes living at Homecrest. She has freedom, can afford it and if she ever gets lonely she goes to the lobby and people are there.

The hourlong tea party was one of many social events at Homecrest House. Torti is planning an Octoberfest celebration for Oct. 9.

“I hope they have another tea soon,” said Betty Rockhill, who’s lived at Homecrest for three years.

mchertock@gazette.net