Posted tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

A thousand extra miles

December 16, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager


Shauntel, our amazing volunteer

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we have amazing people who volunteer with HPCCR. When we need people to help out, they step up. And sometimes they go the extra mile. Or better yet. Sometimes they go a thousand extra miles.

Like Shauntel. Shauntel lost her father a few years ago. Before he died, though, he was under hospice care. Shauntel told me that her family’s experience with hospice was amazing; they felt overwhelmingly loved and supported.

So four years ago, she decided to give back. She volunteered to help hospice families over Thanksgiving by taking them a meal. That first Thanksgiving without her dad was incredibly hard but being able to do something meaningful for families whose journey she intimately understood was truly a rewarding gift. She has continued this tradition, bringing joy every Thanksgiving to some very deserving families.

This year, Shauntel was assigned to bring a meal for Mrs. N, whose husband is under our care. When she spoke with Mrs. N for the first time, Shauntel asked her if she would prefer the “fixings” for a meal or an already prepared meal. Mrs. N asked Shauntel to just bring canned goods because the only items she had in her home that would allow her to heat food were a hot plate, a toaster, and an electric skillet. She had no microwave or oven or stove.

Shauntel was heartbroken. She’d never thought about how easy it is to prepare a meal in her own home; she’d taken it for granted that she can cook for her family whenever she wants to with whatever appliances are in her kitchen. But Mrs. N, who was already caring for her ailing husband, had to work even harder than most to simply put food on the table. She knew at that moment that God had put her in Mrs. N’s life for a reason.

At this point, Shauntel flew into action. She contacted her church to see what additional resources and help she could find. Turns out someone knew a guy who fixes appliances and he was able to provide a used stove. They were able to also procure a microwave and George Forman grill. Shauntel called Mrs. N and told her to clear some space — A Thanksgiving miracle was about to happen.

Before Thanksgiving, Shauntel and her crew (including her daughter and a few other children who had an amazing example set for them that day) arrived at Mrs. N’s house with their bounty. Mrs. N was just overwhelmed with gratitude. She hugged Shauntel and cried, and after they plugged in the stove, she turned it on and put her hand over one of the burners. She said she was just glad to feel some warmth in the house. That’s because they don’t have central heat either.

Not only did Shauntel bring the appliances, but she also helped clean Mrs. N’s house. And she has since been back, bringing socks and blankets and other items to make Mrs. N and her husband more comfortable.

Shauntel tells me that she is the one who feels grateful. She was so humbled by Mrs. N’s situation and was deeply thankful to make such a huge difference in the lives of two people who, by all accounts, do not have it easy. She knows how blessed she is; this was her simple effort to pass some of those blessings on.

And that right there, folks, is what grace looks like. Shauntel represents all that is good about this “giving” season. She offered up love and service and received great joy in return.

Shauntel went a thousand extra miles that day. Her generous spirit will likely take her many more.

If you want to volunteer to make a meal for a family this holiday season, please call 704.375.0100 and ask to speak to someone in volunteer services.


We are thankful for you

November 24, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

thankfulThis week, our thoughts turn to turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie, and we eagerly anticipate the upcoming feast and time with family. On a more spiritual note, this is the week we traditionally count our blessings and focus on the many aspects of our life for which we are profoundly grateful.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, please know that Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is thankful for you. We are touched by your support, your ongoing relationship with us, and your trust in our care. Without you, we would not be the growing, thriving organization that we are today with an exceptional staff and over 37 years of end-of-life care under our belt.

We wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving and joyful start to your holiday season. May your turkey be tender and your pumpkin pie plentiful!

5 reasons I’m thankful for hospice

November 26, 2013

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

thankfulDid you grow up, like me, going to Thanksgiving celebrations where you were forced to go around the table and tell everyone one thing that you were thankful for?  I hated the tradition.  Don’t get me wrong — I was extremely thankful for many things (including all of the people sitting around the table with me) but it was hard to be put on the spot and come up with something “unique” or at the very least different each year.  Plus, when you’re a kid, it’s just plain embarrassing to have the spotlight on you, regardless of the reason.

As we become adults, our perspective changes.  It deepens.  The real world has knocked us to our knees a few times and we’ve had to struggle to make sense of some of life’s most basic truths — birth, aging, joy, marriage, divorce, heartbreak, recovery, abundance, depression, peace, death (just to name a few).  We truly ARE more thankful for our small blessings because we’ve been on both sides of life’s pendulum.

When you work for a hospice organization, you become acutely aware of the blessing of life itself.  Every day we see patients finding their way to the core of what’s important to them.  We see them eliminate and prioritize the “clutter” until just a few things remain: family, loved ones, memories — everything that encompasses “home”.

So here’s my list of five things about hospice that I am thankful for (there are many, many more, but I’ll just talk about these for now):

  1. The families we serve.  I am thankful that they trust us to care for them, that they allow us into their lives at such a difficult time, and that they have faith in our ability to make things better.
  2. Our clinicians.  As we’ve heard so often, these people are angels in disguise.  Our clinicians have answered a calling and they pour their hearts into their work, changing the lives of families every day.
  3. Our reach.  I am so thankful that families in eight counties in North Carolina have access to the important and compassionate services that we offer.  Our reach extends from the southern most part of Union County all the way up to the top of Iredell County, and from Cleveland County all the way over to Cabarrus County.
  4. Our services.  I am proud that our organization offers so many important services to the communities we serve.  Hospice care, palliative medicine, grief care, community education, care for children, veterans, and patients of all diagnoses.  We do not turn anyone away who needs us.
  5. Our Family Fund.  We have a fund that provides financial assistance to patients and family members when they truly need it.  We recently used our family fund to purchase a brand new suit for a grieving man to wear to his wife’s funeral.  The HPCCR folks who were helping him pick it out, along with the store clerks, had tears running down their faces from the simple joy that the new suit brought to this bereaved husband.  The money for this fund comes from the support of our generous donors and from HPCCR employees.  I am truly thankful for the help our family fund offers at critical times.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and fulfilling (and filling!) Thanksgiving.  And if, at your celebration, you have to go around the table to say what you’re thankful for, here’s a suggestion: tell ’em you’re thankful for hospice care.  We would be very okay with that.

Thanksgiving clichés from the heart

November 23, 2011

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Maybe you dreaded it as a kid — the ritual of going around the dining room table so that each person could share what he or she was thankful for.  It put you on the spot, didn’t it?  You knew you should think of something different each year rather than repeat the same clichéd phrases: my mom and dad, my brother/sister, my health. . . .But as you’ve gotten older, has the ritual changed for you?  Become more meaningful because you have a better capacity to appreciate the blessings in your life?  I know it has for me. 

I am thankful for so many things.  Yes, all the clichéd ones: my husband and children, the health of my parents and other family members, a sturdy roof over my head every night.  But for the past few years, I’ve had one more thing to add to my list. 

I am thankful for this job.  I am thankful for the opportunity it brings me each day to educate our community about the benefits of end-of-life care.  I really didn’t know much about hospice care before I started working here.  I had no idea that the words “good” and “death” could be used in the same sentence, much less right next to each other.  But now I do.  And I hope that by reading some of the posts we’ve had on Hospice Matters that you know a little more about it too.

I am also thankful for you, the readers of this blog, who take a few minutes out of your day a couple of times a week to take in our message.  And I am especially grateful to those of you who make comments on the blog so that we know those messages are being heard.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  And when it’s your turn to share what you’re thankful for, don’t be afraid to go back to the clichés.  They come from the heart and that’s all that matters.

We’re dining out for hospice all month. So should you.

November 7, 2011

By now, you loyal Hospice Matters readers are probably familiar with our “Dining Out for Hospice” days which are held periodically during the year at some awesome local restaurants.  So you know the drill: our wonderful supporters (that’s you!) eat at the restaurant and a portion of the restaurant’s daily proceeds are donated to us.  It’s a win-win.  You get a delightful meal and we get a kind donation.  Not to mention, local restaurants get extra business.

Well, guess what?  You’re going to have some serious eating to do during the month of November.  And we’re not talking about Thanksgiving.  That’s because, in honor of National Hospice Month, some generous restaurants have decided to participate in an entire month of “Dining Out for Hospice”.  And it starts today!

As of now, there are 10 dates and 13 restaurants.  You’ll have options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  You’ll be able to choose from upscale dining to simple, down home cooking.  You can indulge in everything from burgers and barbeque to crab cakes and herb-encrusted lamb.  We aim to please every palate and every pocketbook. 

The upshot?  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to support one of our regional offices.  Because there are participating restaurants in various parts of Charlotte and also in Huntersville, Davidson, Denver, and Lincolnton.  We’ve got all the details you’ll need (including links to menus!) in the calendar of events on our website, so please check it out.  Maybe when you’re hungry.  That would be a good time.   

So now the ball is in your court.  We’ve set everything up and all you have to do is walk in the door of one of these establishments and eat up!  What’s a few more meals out to support an amazing cause??  And let’s face it, no one loses weight during November or December anyway.  That’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.

Monday, November 7
Trio Restaurant
10709 McMullen Creek Pkwy., Charlotte
Lunch & Dinner, 11am-9pm

Carpe Diem
1535 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte
Dinner, 5-10pm

Tuesday, November 8
Fatz Café
1430 E. Main Street, Lincolnton
Lunch & Dinner, 11am-10pm

Thursday, November 10
The Home Place Restaurant
1700 W. Highway 27, Lincolnton
Lunch & Dinner, 10am-8pm

Dressler’s (Metropolitan)
1100-E Metropolitan Ave., Charlotte
Lunch & Dinner, 11:30am-10pm

Dressler’s (Birkdale Village)
8601 1-A Lindholm Dr., Huntersville
Dinner, 5-10pm

Monday, November 14
Hannah’s BBQ
101 Sanford Rd., Lincolnton
Lunch & Dinner, 11am-9pm

Tuesday, November 15
36th Street Bakery & Café
101 N. Court Square, Lincolnton
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, 7am-9pm 
Wednesday, November 16
Sports Page Food & Spirits
179 Cross Center Drive, Denver
Dinner, 5-10pm 
North Harbor Club
100 N. Harbor Place Dr. #D, Davidson
Lunch 11am-4pm, Dinner 5-9pm 
Thursday, November 17
The Home Place Restaurant
1700 W. Highway 27, Lincolnton
Lunch & Dinner, 10am-8pm 
Monday, November 21
Sabi Asian Bistro
130 Harbour Place Dr., #120, Davidson
Lunch & Dinner, 11am-11pm 
Monday, November 28
Brixx Wood Fired Pizza – Uptown
225 E. Sixth Street, Charlotte
Lunch & Dinner, 11am-1am 
Tuesday, November 29
Pewter Rose Bistro
1820 South Blvd., Charlotte
Lunch & Dinner, 10am-9pm 

Restaurant X
408 South Main St., Davidson
Lunch & Dinner, 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm

A different day of thanks

October 27, 2011

by Andrea Powell,  HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Haircuts were a much-needed service provided at Stand Down Charlotte

I don’t know how it happened, but we are just around the corner from November, a month that most people associate with Thanksgiving and the official “kickoff” of the holiday season.  But there is another observance next month that is equally important.  On Friday, November 11, we honor United States veterans.

I was born in the 1970s.  That means that until several years ago, I did not live in a “wartime” society.  I didn’t grow up knowing what “rationing” was unless it involved my Halloween candy.  I did not worry about the men in my life getting drafted and I do not remember seeing many men in uniform.  In other words, I don’t think I’ve had the proper appreciation for the many men and women who have made great sacrifices to preserve the freedom I am afforded by living in this country. 

But I certainly do now.  Especially after attending Stand Down Charlotte, an event held a couple of weeks ago at the Grady Cole Center to support homeless veterans living in our city.  Even before Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region set up a booth to participate in Stand Down Charlotte, our staff members collected personal hygiene items, such as travel-sized soap, deodorant, and toothpaste to hand out at the event.  And then on the day of Stand Down Charlotte, we had nurses available to take blood pressures and temperatures of any veterans who asked.  Of the 250 veterans in attendance, we served 144 of them through our supplies and services.

It was a humbling morning.  These homeless men and women had many simple needs they could not take of themselves simply because they don’t have the resources.  Once it was announced that several barbers were giving free haircuts, long lines formed in front of each one.  Within seconds. 

One veteran I talked to was beyond grateful because he had a pair of socks in his HPCCR “goody” bag.  His current pair is wearing out and he told me how thankful he is to God for answering his needs.  Another man we spoke to has been homeless for two years.  After becoming disabled during his service, he fell into drug addiction.  For years he struggled with sobriety but has been clean for over five years now.  But he has no job and no home. 

I learned recently that one out of every four individuals who die in this country is a veteran.  It stands to reason, then, that hospice organizations are going to be involved in the care of many veterans, especially as our current population ages.  Most of the veterans under our care are fortunate enough to live in their own homes or in long-term care communities.  But it was eye-opening and heart-breaking to realize that there are men and women, living in shelters and on the streets, who gave years of service to their country and have nevertheless fallen through the cracks.  They fell because of economic, health, or circumstantial conditions.  But hopefully through our efforts, we were able to soften the blow of that fall just a little.

November is no longer just about Thanksgiving for me.  Oh, it’s still about giving thanks, don’t get me wrong.  But I’ll be doing it a little earlier this year.  On November 11, to be exact.

It’s not too early to volunteer for holiday cheer

October 19, 2010

It seems like the holidays are still a long way off, but celebration time will be here before you know it.  Each year, we all get so wrapped up (literally!) in the concept of gift-giving that we sometimes forget about the non-material gifts that we can provide.

But for a moment, think about families who are struggling with a loved one who is terminally ill.  Think about how much energy it takes to put togther a holiday meal for your own family.  Now think about trying to do that when your energy is sapped, your spirits are low, and your heart is heavy.

During this “giving” season, you can help families continue their traditions of gathering around the table for a special Thanksgiving or holiday meal by volunteering to adopt a family and donate an unprepared meal.  Even better, you can cook and deliver an already prepared meal!  Our patients, their families, and our volunteers have told us how meaningful their participation in sharing holiday meals or gifts has been for them.  This is also the perfect opportunity to involve a group (a book club, bible study, or workout buddies?) with Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region – no training required!

We already have patients and families who have requested a little extra help this holiday season, so call now to learn how you or your group can help.  Contact Mary Fink at 704.905.6686.

What a true joy it will be to lift the spirits and lighten the hearts of families who feel little anticipation (and mostly exhaustion) about the upcoming holidays.  We promise it will lift your spirits as well.  And we are truly thankful for your generosity.