Appreciative residents give staff $435,000 holiday gift

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Appreciative residents give staff $435,000 holiday gift
Appreciative residents give staff $435,000 holiday gift
How's this for a Christmas bonus? Employees at a Maryland retirement community will collect more than $435,000  today—from their residents.

Residents at Riderwood this year contributed $435,000 to an annual Staff Appreciation Fund. Riderwood is part of the Baltimore-based Erickson Retirement Community chain, and houses more than 2,800 retirees. Because the staff is not permitted to accept tips or gifts, eight years ago some residents decided to initiate a yearly fund. Since 2006, residents of the facility have given more than $1.2 million to dining services, transportation, security and nursing employees whose work they value every day. More than 1,200 employees will receive the funds.

Resident Norma Graham heads up the annual fund. "I'm amazed at what people donated this year in light of the situation with the economy," she said, adding that "this is something we wanted to do to show our appreciation for these special people."