"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Celebrating the True Meaning of Thanksgiving

On Thursday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving; a time to give thanks for all that we have.  There are many who are far less fortunate than most of us.  In an effort to ensure that residents in our area had a Thanksgiving meal, Our Lady of the Mountains Roman Catholic Parishes asked for sponsors to assist with feeding those in need.  WMHS and Pharmacare joined these area churches as sponsors in feeding over 1000 people last Saturday.  There were 128 volunteers from the churches, WMHS and Pharmacare preparing, serving and delivering meals.  Meals were delivered to senior living apartments, Archway Station and the Union Rescue Mission. The meal was also open to police, fire and rescue personnel.  The group then fed hundreds at St. Mary's Church.  Jo Wilson, VP of Operations at WMHS, had the lead from the health system and shared some stories from the event.  

Notes From Jo
The folks from Friends Aware came from the individual group houses. It was so wonderful to see these people with special needs so happy and joyful. What really made one's eyes tear up was the fact that a couple of these people work at WMHS. They were so proud to be singled out when they arrived by their WMHS coworkers and could show their house mates that they were part of such a loving group of health system volunteers. 

We also dropped off food to the senior apartments in the area. Hana and Melody (two of our very young dieticians) came back to tell us how incredible it was to bring food to the individuals living there. These two young girls were floating in their happiness.

From Gabriela, our Social Worker at FRNC, and her husband Ray I got this story.......
Just wanted to let you know that Ray and I had a great time delivering meals at Cumberland Meadows on Saturday and that all the residents that received meals were very appreciative. We met a sweet lady named Rita who insisted on taking us for a tour of her apartment. She told me that more people would have signed up for a meal had they known about it earlier. She's on the activity committee there and offered to put up fliers by the front and back door if someone gives them to her next year. Thank you for organizing a wonderful experience for all. We look forward to helping again next year.

Another thing that really was spectacular was the double line of volunteers who came in early to get things ready for delivery to the senior centers. We did 280 meals in 30 minutes!! All totaled, just under 500 meals were delivered. It was incredible team work and really speaks to Mary Jo and Tara’s organizational skills.  

Also, one of the things were the people who came to eat. One elderly man came in and picked up a dinner for him and his wife. He said it was the first time that they had shared a true Thanksgiving dinner in more years than he could remember.

Another was a young father and mother with a toddler, a baby and one on the way. It was heartbreaking to see how carefully they scraped every drop of the leftover food on their plates into carry out containers for what I am sure is another meal. I wanted to give them everything.

Finally, a gentleman at the very end of the night came in through the back. He was so embarrassed to get food for himself and several children. Barry, he looked so hungry, it was pitiful. So I put all the turkey, stuffing and potatoes we had left in the line together and the other staff packed up the corn, beans, bread, pumpkin pies and cookies. Hopefully, this gave them food for a few days.

Barry, I just know this was a very good thing to do. Every one of us who volunteered, cooked, delivered or whatever we did felt a sense of giving back and warmth…it was like we paid back all the good we are blessed with because we have so much.

Thank you for allowing this to happen and me to be part of this. Jo

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