October 10, 2017 – (Article published in Arcade Herald)

The Charlotte House to bring end-of-life comfort to Western New York residents
On Oct. 2, 2017, the Mount Vernon Lodge of the Free & Accepted Masons in Java Village held their annual Chicken BBQ with the proceeds this year benefitting the Charlotte House. Tim Kibler was presented with a check during a meeting on Nov. 14 (2016). Kibler received the check from Master Robert Lawson and the members of the lodge, Mike Driver, secretary; Bernie Whaley, treasurer; Mark Hopkins; Vernon Hopkins; Craig Foster; Ben driver; and John Green. (Picture from Chicken BBQ Benefit 11/14/16)

The Charlotte House to bring end-of-life comfort to Western New York residents Laney Hill Neighbor-to-Neighbor News, Inc.
Walking into the Charlotte House, located on Route 98 in quaint North Java, takes the visitor back in time, to when the beautiful yet simplistic building was a convent. Nuns walked reverently through the halls, passing stunning stained glass in almost every room. Upstairs, they would gather in the small yet ornate chapel, the painted dome ceiling above their heads, and pray. That atmosphere can still be felt when stepping over the threshold of the front door.

The new owner of this tangible piece of history is Tim Kibler, a resident of Rochester, but who grew up in North Java. His family has lived in the area for generations; Kibler attended school in the building behind the convent when it was a schoolhouse. Kibler has an obvious passion for his business- taking care of others.

The Charlotte House will be the first end-of-life care home in Wyoming County, offering a place of care and comfort for two patients going through the difficult last stages of life here on Earth. Focusing on the importance of care, the home will also offer living areas for the families of the patients, so they can be close to their loved ones. The closest comfort home to residents in Wyoming County right now is in Batavia. The Charlotte House is named in honor of the late Charlotte Smallwood-Cook, a prominent attorney and longtime resident of Wyoming County.

Kibler explained that comfort homes were created after the AIDS epidemic, when those patients were not allowed to go to hospitals for their care. During that time, one man saw the need, and opened a comfort home to AIDS patients; the model took off from there, according to Kibler.

Due to significant damage over the many years of abandonment, the house is in serious need of renovation and repairs. In the beginning of this new venture, Kibler was told that the project would take approximately $350,000 to completely renovate the building, while also including the first year’s budget. However, thanks to many area organizations and individuals donating their time and money to the project, that number has been significantly reduced to $200,000 just for renovations.
“When I was with the Wyoming Foundation I realized that there is a real need for comfort care in Wyoming County because there isn’t anything at this time,” Kibler explained.

The Charlotte House came into Kibler’s hands after the former Pastor of Holy Parish, the church next door to the house, asked Kibler if he knew of anything that the building could be used for.

“It sort of just came together from there. It’s a nice enough building, even though it hasn’t been lived in since 1971,” Kibler said. Although that’s still a daunting number to raise through donations, the community has really been banding together in hopes of getting the Charlotte House underway.

A few individuals with connections to the building, or to the area, have offered their services, and will work on the roof and the hardwood floors as a donation to the project. An organization Kibler is connected to also offered to furnish the entire home as a donation as well. Kibler was happily surprised when he called Tompkins Trust Agency regarding insurance for the home, when they told him that employees put in $5 to wear jeans to work on Fridays- which always goes toward a certain charity- and recently those funds are being donated to the Charlotte House too. Kibler also rattled off several other community members who are planning fundraisers for the house, including livestock and goods auctions.

The Mount Vernon Lodge #263 of the Free and Accepted Masons in Java Village held a fundraiser on Oct. 2 of this year, selling Chicken BBQ, with Craig Foster acting as chairman for the annual event. Every year funds are donated to charities or services throughout the area, including Mercy Flight and the Wyoming County Community Hospital. This year the funds were donated to the Charlotte House, ($1,050 2016) ($1,400 2017) in total; this amount was the most raised by the Lodge to date. Master of the Lodge, (Robert Lawson 2016) (Jon Heppner 2017) told this paper that they are pleased that their event helped to kick start other organizations in the community to donate to the Charlotte House.

Kibler also mentioned that some of the beautiful stained glass will have to be removed during the renovations, and that he may be auctioning it off to help with expenses; he clarified that he is trying to keep as much of the character of the old building intact as possible.

Most of the rooms in the building will be completely renovated, with walls torn down and then built again in different places, creating ample room and necessary amenities, such as handicap-accessible bathrooms for the patients.

“What really makes the comfort home work, is the volunteers,” Kibler said. “So the more volunteers you have, the better off it’s going to be. I happen to volunteer at a comfort home in Webster two nights a month, and there is about 75 volunteers going at any time.”

A registered nurse will be on-call at all times if volunteers run into issues, however licensed nurses will also be working during the day, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. A house director will be running the business-side of the house, such as paying bills, raising money, and coordinating with the community.

Some volunteers have been selected to work in the home when it is ready, but Kibler is still in need of more. Applications and more information regarding volunteering can be found on the Charlotte House website, charlottehouse.org.

“What we’re looking to do, is to be the extension of the family,” Kibler said. “We’ll let the actual family be the family, taking care of the emotional [aspect], and we can take care of the rest.”

To donate to the Charlotte House, make checks payable to Charlotte House, PO Box 123, North Java, NY 14113; a representative can also be available to speak at an organization or church- call Kibler at 585-727-0942 or email him at timothy.kibler@charlottehouse.org.
© 2017 Neighbor-to-Neighbor News, Inc.. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.