The holiday season, which generally commences with Thanksgiving and extends through early January, is a time when many choose to give back. It’s a time to take inventory of the many blessings we’ve received throughout the year as we celebrate the greatest gift bestowed upon all of us – the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a time to inspire hope through volunteerism and donations to the communities in which we live and serve.
This year was unlike any other and the way our Concordia home and community-based services team came together to support our community members who have have felt the greatest impacts of the pandemic was a direct reflection of our mission. From bringing the joy of bird watching to our senior friends living in isolation to giving the gift of fun and freedom to disabled children by means of customized bicycles, our team turned to creativity in their pursuit to spread holiday cheer.
Concordia Hospice of Washington’s Cardinal Project
Our Concordia home and community-based services team kicked off the season of giving back a little bit early with the launch of Concordia’s Hospice of Washington’s Cardinal Project in October. The project provides a way for community members to donate bird feeders to our friends living in long-term care facilities who have experienced prolonged isolation during this uncertain time. To date, over 100 unique bird feeders have been distributed to our friends living throughout Washington County and the surrounding communities!
Concordia Visiting Nurses’ Marketing Team Give Back to The Communities They Serve
Every holiday season prior to 2019, Lauren Dado, business development manager for Concordia Visiting Nurses (CVN), and the CVN marketing team would hand deliver small Christmas gifts of gratitude to our partnering hospitals, community supporters and referring physician practices. Last year she decided she wanted to do something more meaningful.
With the support of CVN’s four partner health systems, Butler Health System, Washington Health System, Heritage Valley Health System and St. Clair Hospital, Lauren and her team chose local organizations in each service area to give back to. Her team donated over $3,000 worth tangible items of requested goods to community organizations, including food banks and homeless shelters, throughout western Pennsylvania.
“Traditional marketing gifting inundates our referral sources with candies, cookies and gifts. Last year, we wanted to do something different. We are in partnership with four area health systems to serve our communities and by donating on their behalf, we are further benefiting those we serve,” Dado said.
This year, the team wanted to carry on the new tradition but had to adapt to adhere to virus related protocols and safety measures.
She continued, “Due to COVID, we did monetary donations this year. Given the circumstances of the pandemic and the high risk associated with exposure, we have a responsibility to keep our community safe and we need each and every one of our team members healthy to provide care for our patients. We also sent letters to each of the charities that explain our donations.”
Her team handpicked the organizations in their service area based on the greatest need they were seeing in their community throughout the year. Laura McGraw, a transitional nurse liaison for CVN who works with Butler Memorial Hospital, chose the Grapevine Center in Butler County.
“Food insecurity, homelessness and personal crises have been the forefront needs of our communities over the last year,” said McGraw. “The Butler area has a growing homeless population and the Grapevine Center has been instrumental in serving this underserved group. The Grapevine Center serves as a warming center, and provides needed resources for daily living.”
Lauren hopes her team’s new “referral gift-giving” concept inspires other local organization to follow suit. The team is also looking for ways to fill the community needs year-round.
Concordia Community Support Services Missions Committee Raise Money for Adaptive Bikes
The Concordia Community Support Services (CCSS) Missions Committee formed in 2018 to provide the employees of Concordia’s home and community-based services opportunities to serve others in need in the communities they serve. Each quarter the committee organizes a servant event to support a specific need. Despite pausing all in-person missions this past year, the committee was able to focus its efforts on making Christmas special for local children with disabilities.
The committee supported Variety Pittsburgh’s My Bike Program over the holiday season. The organization provides children with disabilities the opportunity to live life to the fullest by focusing on their mobility, communication and socialization. Our employees generously provided monetary donations, that were matched by Concordia, to this special organization. The money raised will be used to provide children in need with customized adaptive bikes that their families would otherwise be unable to afford.
If you would like to make a difference in YOUR community, consider a career in home health, home care or hospice and visit www.concordiacareers.org to apply today.
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