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Open Door wins $5K donation from First National Bank, will overhaul bathroom

September 18, 2018

SANDWICH – The age-old battle over the bathroom. It’s about to get less contentious at an Open Door Rehabilitation Center group home.

The agency, which provides vocational, residential and community support and services to adults with developmental disabilities, has won a $5,000 donation through First National Bank’s 2018 Community First Wards. The funds will partially fund the overhaul of a bathroom.

That bathroom is in a house that houses eight residents, seven of whom rely on wheelchairs. One of the house’s two bathrooms is already Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, and it will cost at least $12,000 to bring the other up to that standard, according to Rita Potter, Open Door’s executive director.

“We were up against I think 20 different agencies in six different states to win this donation,” she said. “To take third was pretty good for a small-town endeavor, and that money will make a nice dent to start with.”

Let’s go a step further – or backward, chronologically. The first step in the competition was applying to simply be accepted. Kourtney Herren, Open Door’s marketing and development coordinator, completed the app, and the agency made the cut down to 200 agencies in six states. Then about 5,000 First National Bank employees voted on which agencies should make the top 20.

Then it was up to Joe Public to vote, starting Aug. 27. Herren set up the agency’s competition profile on its Facebook page, complete with a summary of Open Door’s services and lots of photos of clients living their best lives. The agency also got an assist from its local First National branch, 100 Church St., which helped get the word out, Herren said.

The voting wrapped up Sept. 7, and Open Door was notified it took third, netting it $5,000 and creating quite a celebration on the in-office message system.

“It was so cool to see the comments and how excited the staff was,” Herren said.

A check was presented at the agency, 405 Wells Street, on Tuesday morning.

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