MRH Hospital Auxiliary Supports Projects That Affect Lives
BY BRENDA BOUSER
Special to The Pilot
A lot of work, all of it from loving hands, goes into these tiny toys.
Materials have to be purchased. Then fabric must be cut and machine-sewn. Finish-work will be done by hand. Finally, ribbon will be cut and tied around each make-believe neck along with a card carrying this simple message:
"Made with love by Toymaker Volunteers at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. Materials made possible through the generosity of the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Auxiliary."
After all of the preparation involved in making the toys, one fortunate Toymaker loads up a basket of pastel camels, dinosaurs, dogs (Doxies, Scotties and Snoopy look-alikes), kittens, bears, ducks, elephants, ponies and pigs for delivery.
On Monday afternoons, the lucky lady-in-pink is Betty Hurst, a Toymaker for 24 years and the current coordinator of the Monday afternoon group.
"I do like this," she says.
The deliveries take Hurst throughout the hospital to every department - from the Emergency Department to Meyer Pediatrics, from Lab to Imaging - that serves children. A special delivery of bears will go to the nursery to become welcome-to-the-world gifts for hospital newborns.
Occasionally, Hurst's route will be interrupted by a passerby who wants to buy one of the special keepsakes.
"We've never sold one yet," Hurst says with a smile. "They're just for the children, but everyone wants to be a child."
In a hospital that prides itself on its vital volunteer corps, the Toymakers have been among the busiest for going on 40 years, starting out in the dining room of early Toymaker leader Helen Oleson and then moving to the hospital campus. Last year, 61 of these talented ladies - a couple of them approaching centennial birthdays - made and distributed 6,311 toys.
For almost 30 years, their work has been supported by the Hospital Auxiliary, which recently approved a $4,000 Toymakers disbursement from its 2012-2013 Special Projects budget.
According to Special Projects Co-Chair Carol Ray, most of the 2012-2013 funding will support projects that have a direct impact on patient lives, some of it lifesaving.
"I love to hear the stories of how the FirstHealth Response system gave recipients and their family members peace of mind and also allowed them to live in their homes longer without being a burden to family members or having to go into assisted living facilities," Ray says. "I am always touched by the stories of how the Patient Care Fund and Kids in Crisis help so many, and how in their absence needs would go unmet.
"Sometimes the smallest things can mean so much and have a major impact well beyond the service the Auxiliary's funding supplies. Something as simple as a pair of glasses can morph into a child now being able to read the blackboard and see his grades improve along with his self-esteem."
The $4,000 Toymakers allocation is about mid-range among the Auxiliary's Special Projects disbursements. More than $10,000 will be used to sponsor FirstHealth Response subscriptions for aging or infirm individuals who need the assistance of the home-monitoring units but are unable to pay the subscription fee.
Grants of $1,000 each will support a clothing closet in the FirstHealth Behavioral Services Department and a breast pump rental fund for the hospital's lactation program.
While Auxiliary budgets often support out-of-state educational opportunities for Moore Regional employees as well as simulation equipment for in-house nurse education programs, the "heart" of the Auxiliary's Special Projects program lies in programs and services that address patient needs.
"Although I like the projects that are one-time grants, whether it be for items like equipment or educational opportunities for FirstHealth employees," says Ray, "those projects for the needy are the ones I hold most dearly. I am proud to be part of the Auxiliary and all of the great services our fundraising accommodates."
For more information on the work of the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Auxiliary and the projects the group supports, call the Foundation of FirstHealth at (910) 695-7500. For more information on the Toymakers program, call Moore Regional Hospital's Volunteer Services Office at (910) 715-1266. Wednesday and Friday Toymakers volunteers are especially needed at this time.
Brenda Bouser works for the corporate communications office of FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
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