3 community benefit stories that will inspire you

Storytelling is a big part of our culture at Providence.  It’s how we keep our heritage alive and celebrate the people and communities we serve. Our annual community benefit report is always a great source of inspiring stories, and the 2015 edition is no exception. It’s full of powerful examples of how our caregivers live our Mission and work among vulnerable populations.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to click through it. You’ll learn about the many ways we support our communities based on health needs assessments. You’ll also see that in 2015 we invested a total of $951 million in community benefit programs and partnerships that address unmet needs. That’s $100 million more than the year before.

Here are three inspiring stories from this year’s report that stood out for me:

1. A childhood resiliency program for middle school students in Alaska

2. A program in Oregon that helps discharged patients with food, shelter and transportation

3. A program for drug-dependent moms and babies in Montana

These are only the tip of the iceberg. I know there are even more untold stories out there.

Share your untold stories

If you are involved in a program that serves the poor and vulnerable in our communities, I’d love to hear about it.

  • What inspires you about your program?
  • Who are the people you serve?
  • How have they affected you?

Let’s continue to inspire one another by sharing our stories in the comments section below.

And be sure to visit our online community benefit report.

  1. I am part of a group of women that sew sundresses and shorts for charities that take the clothing to international orphanages and mission fields as well as supply local needs. We also make blankets for local charities. Our organization is called Jackie’s Laughter, named after a friend that was a master seamstress and quilter. It was named after her because we know she is getting great joy knowing what we are doing with all the fabric she left behind after her passing. We currently collect fabric, batting and thread for the dresses as well as the blankets. It is all done through donations. We get together every other month for our “sewing bee”. Great afternoons spent with young ( a fourth grader, a boy scout) and old. I do not know the number of dresses we have sewn but, it is well over 500. Our blankets have benefited local charities such as, Hand and Hand as well as some of the fire victims from the fire in late December in Everett.

  2. We recently launched the Optimal Aging program in Seattle to provide non-clinical services to support seniors in “aging in place.” When we launched, it never occurred to me that “in place” might be in a vehicle. We received a referral for a gentleman who needed surgery in order to continue working. The challenge was that he had no support system and is currently living in his car. An Optimal Aging caregiver met him at the hospital to fulfill hospital discharge requirements and then got him settled at a friend’s place who had agreed to let him recover there. Without this assistance, he would have had to forego or delay surgery, possibly losing his job. Instead, he was back at work two days later.

    • Incredible story. We are very excited about the optimal aging program. Thanks for sharing, Melissa.

  3. Hi Rod,
    Thank you for your interest in how we are reaching out to our communities in service and love.
    I am a supplemental OB Tech at Providence Holy Family in Spokane, Washington, and I also volunteer for Christ Clinic, a branch of the nonprofit, Christ Clinic/Christ Kitchen. I am also on their Mission Impact Council. Christ Clinic provides primary care medicine and mental health services, serving the poor and underinsured population of our city. Each month over 400 people are seen in the clinic, which has helped to decrease the number of emergency department visits at the hospitals.
    The other branch of the ministry, Christ Kitchen, provides job training, work, and discipleship for poor women in Spokane. I am grateful for the consistent help that Providence Health & Services has provided to this organization. It is a blessing to have a strong and good neighbor partnering with you for the good of the community and the furthering of the Mission.

  4. As part of Kadlec’s integrated documentation project we are identifying malnourished patients earlier in their hospitalization. It has allowed to to coordinate efforts so we address nutritional concerns earlier and make a plan for discharge. This in turn allowed us to partner with Meals on Wheels and provide through a grant to patients that have little resources a hot meal daily and nutritional supplements for a month. They also have someone checking on them daily. With this grant we are able to offer it to all patients that need it not just the ones that qualify for the traditional Meals on Wheels program. Nutrition and caring are essential to recovery. Through coordinated effort miracles happen.

    • Thank you for making these miracles happen for our patients. A great collaboration.

  5. In 2010 while working at the child abuse and neglect clinic, I felt a true calling. I noticed many foster care children coming to the clinic suffered from several other medical issues and rarely did they have a primary care provider to refer back to. We saw the need and Foster Care Clinic was born. With an agreement between Providence, Child Protection and the Public Health Dept, we have seen over 500 children from Missoula County come through our clinic. Last Year, we saw 100% of children entering foster care in the County. The Casey Family Foundation gave us a grant to look at whether this made a difference in outcomes. We are the only program nationally that we know to undergo such an evaluation. We were asked to present these outcomes at the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children this coming week. We have a growing problem with an increase of children in foster care tripling over the last 5 years, but we are addressing the needs of our community and meeting the healthcare needs of this very vulnerable population. A support group for foster parents and a community closet has also been initiated.

  6. Twice a month I volunteer to help make and serve meals for a program that serves former prisoners as well as other disenfranchised individuals in my community. The program is called Light My Way, sponsored by Sonrise Church in Hillsboro. This program also provides a church service for those who are not allowed to attend regular church services, due to their parole restrictions. This ministry serves hundreds each year and helps them to get back on their feet and to feel that someone cares for them. I feel both blessed and humbled to be able to serve my community in this way. I believe that serving in this way also gives me a greater sense of empathy and caring for the patients I care for in my position with Providence.

    • I commend you for this work. Prisoners are among the most forgotten. Thank you for all you do.

  7. I work with an amazing group of co-workers in the palliative care department at our small hospital on Kodiak Island. Our job is to visit our most vulnerable patients to compassionately help meet their needs and increase their quality of life. Since our office is directly across from the cafeteria, we started to notice a visitor about 6 months ago, who would walk to the hospital every day, in the same clothes (khaki shorts and a green fleece jacket), regardless of the weather, to eat in the cafeteria (we have wonderful food). He was always alone. We all separately made an effort to reach out to befriend him and over time, he learned to trust us. Last week we didn’t see him all week and we got worried and tried to contact him. When we finally found him, he told us he had lost his wallet that contained all of his grocery money and he hadn’t been able to eat anything except a few cans of green beans for the entire week. My co-worker immediately gave him a Safeway card to go get some groceries and today he brought her flowers to express his gratitude. He was shocked that we would care for him in that way. “That’s just how it is here at Providence,” we told him. “We are family and we watch out for each other.” It is a blessing to work with such compassionate team members at an organization that has such meaningful core values.

    • Amazing. Kodiak is a very special place, and the compassion you describe is what makes Providence special. Thank you and your team for all you do.

  8. I manage the Behavioral Health part of a joint call center known as the “Providence Triage Service Center” in Oregon. Along with the Nurse Triage and the Physician Referral and Resource Line, the Behavioral Health Triage handles calls from people seeking mental health and chemical dependency help 24/7/365. Many times our callers are in crisis, even as they are on the phone with us, they are thinking of killing themselves, or so depressed that they cannot function, or so involved in their addicition that they have lost sight of what it means to have a job and a home life.

    Two things inspire me most–one is the commitment and expertise of the caregivers in the department. Everyone of them is compassionate, knowledgeable, and great at what they do every day. The other is the resilience of the callers. Most of them have sought help before, they are often poor and living on the fringe of society. Yet they call to seek help with improving their lives. They continue to believe in the help we provide them.

    Just today one woman called to thank Providence Chemical Dependency because she said that 25 years ago on this date, her husband entered treatment at Providence and has been sober ever since. She said it turned their lives around and they have been able to raise their children in a home without the addiction, distress and upheaval that so often goes along with chemical dependency. I am in awe of the amazing people in this department and humbled to work alongside them every day. I am grateful to offer a service, now in its 27th year, that is so needed in all of our communities! Kathleen Marriott, MS

    • Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this story and for all you do for people in times of crisis.

  9. I am the clinical operations manager at Providence Family Medicine in Anchorage, Alaska. We serve a diverse patient population at the clinic and one that really stands out are the refugees. Catholic Social Services and PFMC have partnered in the last year and PFMC provides healthcare to these patients as they arrive in to our beautiful state/country. These patients are relieved to have escaped some of the worst living conditions in the world; they are scared, confused, overjoyed, and maybe even a bit saddened by what they have had to leave behind. To be able to provide a “place with no war” to these individuals is pricelss. It also gives every one of our staff live the mission; respect, compassion, and justice.
    On June 11th PFMC was gifted an award for the care we have been privelgeged to be a part of. You guys at PFMC are an amazing team!!!

    • Incredible. Refugees and immigrants are among the most vulnerable and forgotten populations in our country. Thank you for this important work.

  10. I am an End of Life Companion at PPMC. I am truly blessed to be a part of such an extraordinary group of people who feel that no one – no matter what walk of life – should be alone at the time of their death. I had the privilege of meeting the family of a gentleman that I had been called in to sit with. Both parents were dying at the same time on different floors at PPMC and so in order for neither one to be alone, we were called in to cover for the family. They were so appreciative and I was very touched by this. At times it is very difficult to keep your emotions under wraps, but to know that by simply sitting with a person and letting them know that they are not alone is fulfilling. What a special program!

    • Thank you for what you do. It takes a special person to be able to do that.

    • What an incredible service. Thank you for sharing this story and thank you to you and your group for all you do for patients and families at a vulnerable time in life.

  11. What a beautiful story. I love that you say “as they are provided nourishment to fill their souls.” I am so proud to be part of a greater good that is seeking to lift others up. Go Providence!!!

  12. Every month I volunteer to serve lunch at the local St. Vincent de Paul dining room. I look forward to the sign up sheet coming around each quarter. This has helped me keep a clear focus on Providence’s mission of serving the poor and vulnerable in the Southern Oregon. The people who come for lunch – young and old – are so grateful for the one hot meal they receive for the day. They always respond with a please and thank you. It warms my heart to be able to give my time to this worthy service. Each person in line has a story. This doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I can smile and bless each one of them as they are provided nourshment to fill their souls.

    • Great story. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer, and thanks for the work with you do with St. Vincent de Paul.