MATTHEWS – Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care has opened its doors to local celebrities, including ministers, politicians and the occasional rocket scientist – not just as volunteers, but as clients.
“Once you contract Dementia or Alzheimer’s, it puts everyone on a level playing field,” Executive Director Nate Huggins said. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what neighborhood you live in, what circles you ran in. When you have Dementia and Alzheimer’s, we all have the same interests and needs – to be loved, taken care of and have our life-sustaining needs met.”
God called on Huggins, a former Army major, to start the ministry 20 years ago.
The idea was to provide disabled veterans and seniors an alternative to going into a nursing home.
Huggins reached out to local churches, civic groups and the business community. Once word spread, he was struck by how many people were inflicted with diseases such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and ALS.
“Consequently, we realized real quick we were going to be able to not only help those guys challenged mentally and physically, but also provide these caregivers, who were struggling, with a break from full-time caregiving and empower them to keep their jobs.”
Institutions like Elevation Church and Charlotte Catholic High School schedule times throughout the year for members to volunteer. Kindness also comes in the form of people bringing in cucumbers and squash from their gardens or clothes they no longer need after their loved ones pass away.
Blessed Assurance has undergone three expansions since opening a storefront on Monroe Road back in January 1998. Huggins has set a goal for this year to serve 100 people per day consistently at the center, now located at 13001 Idlewild Road. He tells staff their efforts must not be perceived as a job, but as a ministry.
“I preach to our staff treat these folks as if they were your mom and dad and in particular, the way you want to be treated,” Huggins said. “Because if God should bless us to live so long, we’re all going to need help.”
Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care is celebrating 20 years with a black-tie event from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24 at Emerald Lake Golf Club, 9750 Tournament Drive, Matthews. It includes a meal and silent auction.
Tickets cost $50 per person and $400 per table. Register by Feb. 2 by calling 704-576-4754 to buy tickets.