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Sanborn House hosts virtual fundraiser this year

Photo courtesy of Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home was opened in Port Huron in 1944.

By Barb Pert Templeton

Providing housing for low-income seniors who don’t have a place to go.

It’s the cornerstone of the Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home of Port Huron, a nonprofit assisted living facility for low-income seniors that recently announced it will conduct a virtual fundraiser to replace its annual winter wine tasting event.

The “Annual Winter Friendraising Campaign” was recently kicked off with a direct mail, email, and social media campaign. The local nonprofit is hoping to raise $15,000 via the campaign.

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 “Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home provides affordable, comfortable, and safe assisted living to the aging community,” said Kathy Swantek, executive director of Blue Water Developmental Housing, Inc., a nonprofit that manages SGMH, in a press release.

When contacted by phone Swantek said the 30-bed home for the aged was actually opened in1944. Major renovations to the building over the last ten years have provided even more space for clients, including an area just completed that will reserve four beds for area seniors who are otherwise homeless. A portion of the beds at Sanborn are for private paying clients as well.

Swantek said Sanborn House has a board of directors who plan and approve things for the facility including putting aside one-third of the beds for low low-income senior citizens.

Photo courtesy of Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home
Recent renovations at Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home will allow for additional beds for senior citizens in the area who are homeless.

Typically, a monthly social security check for a senior is $900 and it costs $1,900 to provide care to one senior each month at Sanborn, Swantek said.

The care includes housing, meals, medication distribution, activities, and even aid with bathing if it’s requested. Sanborn House provides 24-hour assistance 365 days a year including three meals a day in a community dining room. Swantek said when she recently looked into charges at other area assisted living facilities for similar care the cost was $3,200 per month.

“So, we are very reasonable, and we don’t want to turn away any seniors in need that can’t get that $1,900 a month so we ask the community to help us support them with our fundraisers,” Swantek said.

Beyond housing and food, Sanborn also provides an activity schedule that includes everything from exercise programs, to bingo to special event nights like Tiger Game Day where staff decorates the place in baseball style. There’s also a barber/beauty salon on-site, laundry service, and opportunities for clients to enjoy live shows and entertainment.

Photo courtesy of Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home
Seniors who live at Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home enjoy a full activities schedule and a dining room that serves three meals a day.

Many of the larger group activities, including outings, have been curtailed during the pandemic but Swantek hopes to get those things back in place soon.

An annual survey that goes out to both clients and their family members to gauge their opinions on the quality of care at the home always returns with “very high scores,” Swantek said.

The current fundraiser is in full swing and anyone interested in making a donation can go to the Sanborn Home website at, and click the ‘Donate’ icon on the top of the screen. 

“People understand how much Sanborn relies on their support so we can continue to focus on our mission and make sure seniors in this community have affordable housing,” Swantek said.

Funding for the housing facility comes from private pay, including social security checks, small grants, and strong support from the United Way of St. Clair County. The Department of Senior Housing in the state provides about 10 percent of their annual budget, Swantek said.

“Donations from fundraisers like this one help us help those who are most vulnerable in our community and your dollars make a direct impact on the care they receive,” she added.

Sanborn Gratiot Memorial Home is located at 2732 Cherry Street in Port Huron. Sanborn Home is the only “licensed home for the aged” in St. Clair County and the only senior residence with a mission to serve lower-income individuals. To learn more visit them online at

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