A way to give back

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Democrat Photo/Lindsay Reed Lending a helping hand The Mercy Hospital Cassville Auxiliary program gives volunteers an opportunity to assist hospital visitors and staff members and raise funds for special needs at the local facilities. Pictured above, from left, are: Hanna Clifton and Auxiliary member Mary Lou Adams.

Community members looking for a way to give back should consider joining the Mercy Hospital Cassville Auxiliary, a charitable organization for men and women of all ages.

"It's a very warm satisfying feeling knowing that you are helping others, whether it is getting them a wheelchair, giving them directions or handing them a piece of candy," said Mary Lou Adams, who has served as an auxiliary member since 2003. "Plus, you get to look at all of the sweet babies and see the expectant parents leaving with their first sonogram image.

"I'm very proud to be assiciated with Mercy," continued Adams. "As a whole, the organization is very warm."

Around a decade ago, Adams read an article in a local newspaper that said the hospital was looking for volunteers to help answer the telephone.

"I was retired, and I realized that I didn't have contact with other people anymore," said Adams. "I wanted that, so I came in and applied."

Not only did Adams get to help answer the telephone, but she has received the opportunity to welcome hospital visitors in the main lobby and the wellness center and assist all departments of the hospital by organizing supplies and other duties.

"When the administration was here, where the lobby is now, I folded bills and got them ready to mail," said Adams.

As an auxiliary member, Adams has also had the opportunity to work in the hospital's gift shop, which offers a wide variety of products, unique gift items, 50-cent greeting cards, 25-cent books and RADA knives. Proceeds from the gift shop are used by the auxiliary to purchase items for the hospital.

"It's been exciting to be a part of presenting gifts to the hospital," said Adams. "We have donated three different crash carts, one each to the emergency room, cardiac unit and the medical unit. This year, we are going after equipment for the physical therapy area.

"If a department knows they need something that is above their appropriated budget, they will approach us for help," said Adams. "We have even done grant matches for equipment in the past."

In addition to collecting funds through gift shop purchases, auxiliary members raise money through garage sales, bake sales and luncheon events.

"The hospital supports the auxiliary 150 percent," said Adams. "The staff members participate in our bake sales and our luncheons. They know that all of the money goes to a good cause."

The auxiliary also uses funds donated throughout the year to present college scholarships to senior students graduating from area high schools. Last year, the auxiliary awarded four $1,000 scholarships.

"I enjoy greeting people and trying to make them feel at ease," said Adams. "Many people are apprehensive when they come in, and I get the opportunity to try to make them smile and make them feel more comfortable. Any time I can be of assistance, it makes me feel good.

"Anyone can be a part of the auxiliary," continued Adams. "The only thing it costs is a half day of your time. You can volunteer morning or afternoon. We welcome couples to work together. You are just required to volunteer four hours in auxiliary business."

Adams volunteers at the hospital nearly every Thursday. She has worked over 1,500 hours over the last 10 years, and will complete over 300 volunteer hours this year.

The Mercy Hospital Cassville Auxiliary will hold a bake sale in the hospital lobby beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 28. All community members are invited to attend.

The auxiliary will also hold its annual garage sale event in May and is planning a salad and casserole luncheon for the month of June.

For more information on the volunteer program, call Emily Jackson at 847-1457 or email her at Emily.Jackson@mercy.net.

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