Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tis the Season for Generosity

Recently, we experienced an unexpected but wonderful act of generosity in one of our clinics and wanted to share the story with our followers!

One of our therapists was in the lobby with her patient and the patient's caregiver discussing how well she did in therapy playing with a play kitchen set.  When the therapist asked if the patient had a play kitchen at home, the caregiver told the therapist that she did not.  The grandmother of another patient who happened to be in the lobby at that time overheard the conversation.  This was the first day that this grandmother had ever been to our facility as her granddaughter is usually brought to therapy by her mom.  She and her granddaughter left after therapy, only to return a short time later with a brand new kitchen play set to be donated to our patient!  This grandmother bought a little girl who she knew nothing about a new kitchen play set simply because she overheard the therapist saying how well she did with it.  What a beautiful act of kindness!

It's easy to get caught up in the day to day routine and to forget what this season is about.  The holidays are about kindness, generosity, and sharing good will with one another.  Here at MedCare, we participate in various volunteer activities during the holidays and throughout the year and we encourage you to do the same!  Giving back to those in need doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive.  Little acts of kindness go a long way!  Below, we've included some suggestions on ways you can make a difference during the Holidays and all year round!

Feed the Hungry

In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.  Consider donating food items or serving food to those in need as a way to give back to your community.  

The Houston Food Bank:  The Houston Food Bank is the nation’s largest size Feeding America food bank and source of food for hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. They have been named one of 10 Top-Notch Charities across the nation by Charity Navigator. A network of 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers and other agencies, feeding a total of 137,000 people each week, provides 50 million nutritious meals annually. Fresh produce, meat and nonperishables are distributed from the new warehouse at 535 Portwall, and hot meals are prepared and distributed from Keegan Center, a 15,000 square-foot industrial kitchen. Additional community services range from nutrition education to assistance with food stamp applications and hands-on job training. Red Barrels offer a convenient way for grocery shoppers to donate nonperishables for their neighbors in need.  For more information, visit http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/default.aspx

The Star of Hope:  The Star of Hope is a Christ-centered community dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless men, women and their children. Positive life changes are encouraged through structured programs which focus on spiritual growth, education, employment, life management and recovery from substance abuse.  We serve three meals a day, 365 days each year, at all three facilities. What an opportunity to encourage and uplift as you hand a meal tray to our clients. This can be scheduled for an individual volunteer on a regular basis or for a small group of 10 on a regular or one-time basis. Volunteers help set-up, serve and clean-up. Lunch and dinner shifts available throughout the week. Snacks & Goodnight is another program for volunteers of all ages; this project has become a tremendous hit! Thanks to the snacks you provide, our clients end the day with a delicious blessing. At TLC, volunteers arrive at 7:45 p.m. to set-up. Clients are invited to come by for a snack beginning at 8:00. Snack time is over at 8:30. Volunteers sweep up and are out the door.  For more information, visit http://www.sohmission.org/NetCommunity/home

Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen:  For the past 35 years, the soup kitchen has provided both spiritual and material sustenance to its clients.  Loaves and Fishes exists to give hope, to light a candle in the darkness of the streets of Houston.  We provide a hot meal and a warm welcome to those in danger of losing their sense of human dignity.  For more information, visit http://www.magnificathouse.org/LoavesFishes.htm

Spend Time with Children in Need

The Boys and Girls Club of Houston:  Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston provides these youth a safe haven in the midst of chaotic, dangerous neighborhoods and family contexts and delivers high-quality programming that builds character; enhances academic performance; improves physical health and fitness; expands life skills; develops leadership potential; promotes civic engagement; and equips youth for pursuing rigorous postsecondary educational opportunities and productive careers.  For more information, visit http://www.bgclubs-houston.org/index.php

Child Advocates, Inc.:  Every 8 minutes, a child in Texas experiences abuse or neglect. More than 5,000 children in the Houston area have experienced such life-threatening abuse or neglect that they had to be removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Child Advocates trains everyday people to advocate for the best interests of these children in court so they can find safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.  Child Advocates, Inc. mobilizes court appointed volunteers to break the vicious cycle of child abuse. We speak up for abused children who are lost in the system and guide them into safe environments where they can thrive.  Child Advocates volunteers are appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child or sibling group in foster care.  They serve as the judge’s eyes and ears while the children are in custody, ensuring their unique needs are met until they can safely return home or are permanently placed with a loving relative or adoptive family. Unlike Child Protective Services caseworkers and court appointed attorneys who juggle overwhelming caseloads, our volunteers represent just one child or sibling group at a time. Their advocacy makes sure no child falls through the cracks of our overburdened child welfare system.  For more information, visit http://www.childadvocates.org/

Casa de Esperanza:  Casa de Esperanza de los NiƱos—the House of Hope for Children—is a safe place for children in crisis due to abuse, neglect or the effects of HIV. Casa de Esperanza provides residential, medical and psychological care according to the needs of each child. Counseling is also available to the parents in appropriate situations.  Casa de Esperanza strives to break the destructive cycle of child abuse by offering safe homes to children of families in crisis. The goal of Casa de Esperanza is to return physically and emotionally healthy children to stabilized homes where caregivers can safely provide daily care.  Children receive comprehensive assessment and intervention services while in placement. Parents receive case management and referral services while their children are safely cared for. When family reunification is not possible, Casa de Esperanza is licensed to supervise long-term foster care and adoptive placements.  For more information, visit http://www.casahope.org/

Give the Gift of Life

Donating blood is fast and easy and can be done once every 8 weeks for whole blood donations and once every 16 weeks for double red blood cell donations.  To find a location near you visit the following:

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center:  http://www.giveblood.org/

Organize a Drive for Items in Need

Many volunteer organizations rely on donations from the community to provide supplies to the people they serve.  Consider hosting a drive for items in need with your friends and family, your neighborhood, or your co-workers!

Show Appreciation for the Soldiers

Freedom isn't free, and there are thousands of men and women who risk their lives every day overseas to ensure that our country is protected.  Consider sending words of encouragement and/or items that are needed like toiletries, magazines, and food items to soldiers stationed overseas!  The following websites allow you to “adopt” a soldier or an entire unit of military personnel and send them much needed items.

Soldier’s Angels:  http://soldiersangels.org/
Operation Gratitude:  http://www.operationgratitude.com/
A Million Thanks:  http://www.amillionthanks.org/