Redefining help

 by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

The helpful students at Ardrey Kell who donated snacks and made activity bags

The helpful students at Ardrey Kell who donated snacks and made activity bags

It’s not easy being a not-for-profit organization in today’s economy, especially one in the healthcare sector.  And I’m sure our organization is not the only one trying to keep expenses down while maintaining exceptional customer service.  So you know how we do it?  We depend on the generous and amazing individuals (and organizations) who help us out!

Case in point: we have a dynamic volunteer, Suzanne Smith, who has been coordinating donations for our new inpatient hospice unit, Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster.  Suzanne has put her creative abilities to use and has acquired some much-needed resources for our fledgling facility.

A few weeks ago, she recruited a group of students at Ardrey Kell High School to donate snacks and make activity bags for children who come to LDHH at Southminster to visit loved ones.  The students were more than happy to take a few minutes out of their day to help out.  And just yesterday, Suzanne met a friend of hers at Trader Joe’s to do some free shopping (more snacks!) for the hospice house.  Are you wondering how it was free?  Well, Suzanne’s friend had received a $100 gift card from a client and decided that she could make a difference with that kind of money.  Needless to say, our snack baskets are (for the moment!) well stocked.

Because we have talented volunteers who knit prayer shawls for our hospice patients, Suzanne emailed several local yarn stores and one of them, Baskets of Yarn, has donated over 150 skeins of unused yarn to LDHH at Southminster.  Suzanne has happily distributed said yarn to our knitters who are busy creating new masterpieces with materials they didn’t have to purchase themselves.  A definite win-win!

Here’s what Suzanne had to say about all of these selfless acts of kindness (including hers), “So many times people say, especially to me, ‘You volunteer with hospice?  That is so great, but I could never do that!’  There is a misconception that if you volunteer with hospice you are dealing with death every day.  But there are so many other ways to help out and contribute to the cause.  There are so many items that we need at LDHH at Southminster that people don’t realize — shawls, snacks for families, paper products for the kitchen so families can prepare meals for themselves, and activity bags for young kids that come.”

You know, sometimes it’s the little things that have the most impact.  But those little things are what we tend to dismiss as unimportant.  I have endless yards of yarn sitting in the back of my closet right now, the sad aftereffects of my unfortunate attempt to learn to knit years ago.  That yarn could be sitting on a patient’s lap right now, keeping them warm.  (Note to self: take yarn to Suzanne!)  Not only that, think of the many bags of potato chips that come with your sandwich “combos” that you never eat.  Those chips could be the pick-me-up that an exhausted caregiver needs because, in her rush to visit a dying loved one, she has forgotten to eat.

We just don’t consider how one little thing can be a huge help to another human being.  Maybe now is the time to redefine what “help” really is.

A huge “thank you” goes out not only to Suzanne Smith, but also to the Ardrey Kell students who made activity bags and donated snacks.  Additionally, we want to thank Baskets of Yarn for the wonderful donation of yarn.  These “little” things turned out to be “big” helps!

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, customer service, end of life, hospice, Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster, volunteering

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6 Comments on “Redefining help”

  1. Bernadette Says:

    Bravo! A true inspiration in supporting the idea that our LITTLE might be a LOT to someone … or to an organization such as yours. It IS cumulative when we get together and get creative! Sharing this on Facebook. 🙂

  2. Bernadette Says:

    And I am not just saying that because Suzanne is my sister. 🙂 She is a light!


  3. Thank you Andrea for putting this all together so nicely and giving us even more ideas on how we can help! I usually decline the bag of chips! Not anymore!! Thanks so much also to everyone mentioned in the article.. they make my life so much easier!

  4. Joseph Rivas Says:

    Great article and wonderful example of giving and sharing on a one to one basis..where it really counts!


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