A fundraising campaign to help the historic but financially strapped Greenleaf Cemetery begins Monday.

The campaign, dubbed $5,000 in Five Days, is in partnership with Keep Brownwood Beautiful, and it is hoped community members will donate that amount of money in five days to help keep the historic perpetual care cemetery operating.

Greenleaf Cemetery, established in 1868, is one of the oldest perpetual care cemeteries in Texas. The cemetery consists of nearly 100 acres and is located at 2701 U.S. Highway 377 South.

“We’re pretty much just putting it out there that we do have a need,” Greenleaf Cemetery office manager Freda Day said. “Our financial situation, as far as money that can be used for operations — it’s not there. We pretty desperately need some money pretty quickly.”

The $5,000 that’s needed represents a month’s payroll, Day said. In addition to Day, there are two additional full-time employees who are groundskeepers and one part-time employee.

“If we can’t pay the staff, then we don’t operate,” Day said.

The cemetery has about $800,000 in a perpetual care fund, but that money can’t be used for operating expenses according to state law, Day said. Only the interest off of the fund can be used for operating expenses, and the amount from the interest has declined as interest rates have remained low, she said.

A former Greenleaf Cemetery office manager, Tisha Pruett, was indicted a year ago on a charge of stealing between $20,000 and $100,000 from the cemetery. Pruett’s case is pending.

Greenleaf board president Connie Wyatt said earlier the cemetery has many needs but has always had the community’s support. “With the help of the community, we strive to show honor and respect to those whose memories we cherish so dearly,” Wyatt said.

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day, and an observance is planned at the cemetery to celebrate the $5,000 in Five Days campaign and to honor the mothers and grandmothers who are buried there. At 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 14, hundreds of butterflies will be released on the grounds.

There are several ways to donate. Cash, checks, and credit cards are accepted in person at the cemetery office weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 455, Brownwood, TX 76804-0455. Make checks out to KBB and note Greenleaf Project on the check. Credit card donations can also be phoned in to 325-646-6919. Donations are urgently needed, and are tax deductible.

“Everyone is invited to come by the cemetery and enjoy the history and tranquility of our grounds,” Day said. “We need the community to support it, but we also invite the community to enjoy it.”

For more information, visit the Greenleaf Cemetery website at www.greenleafcemetery.org or call 325-646-6919.

“I would like to invite people to come out and look at the cemetery,” Day said.