In the midst of one of the most challenging times in recent memory, everyone seems to be finding ways to help their neighbors, said Cameron Edwards, development manager of the Baptist Health Charitable Foundation.
Over the last week, individuals and organizations alike have reached out to Baptist Health, asking how they can help the hospital during the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
“Our community is rallying in spite of the challenge, and while most everyone understands the danger of this illness, they are still seeking ways to serve,” said Edwards. “We are blessed to be able to receive these gifts.”
One of the hospital’s primary needs during this time is blood donations, he said.
“Blood donations are the biggest thing, that’s something everyone can give regardless of their financial capacity right now,” Edwards said. “Our hospital is self-sufficient for its blood supply thanks to our communities in this region. While other areas are facing blood shortages without the readily available means to collect more, Baptist Health Madisonville is ready and actively receiving this precious gift to meet the needs during this difficult time.”
To keep people safe, the blood donor unit has moved to the Madisonville Lions Club headquarters near the hospital. Each day, the team is scheduling one-on-one appointments with donors to maintain social distancing and still meet the needs of the hospital, Edwards said.
Because of the generosity of the community, he said Baptist has established a COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund to support critically-needed resources for patients and its healthcare staff.
“Creating the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund is a way to ensure we can provide assistance where it is needed most,” said Roy Lowdenback, Baptist Health System Vice President of Philanthropy. “The COVID-19 crisis has inspired our community to ask how they can help our frontline staff. We want to be the best stewards of their generosity, and that is why we are encouraging them to support the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. It is the very best way to deploy supplies and assistance to patients and staff and their families.”
Old National Bank has donated 11 bags full of prepackaged snacks, and Independence Bank has brought meals for the hospital’s staff. Hopkins County Schools donated Personal Protective Equipment, and later this weekend, Harbor Freight is going to make a large donation of PPE, said Edwards.
Old National’s bank manager Michelle Johnson said they wanted to give something to brighten the day of Baptist’s staff.
“Just to let them know we’re thinking of them. At the bank, we’ve always prided ourselves on giving back to the community,” she said. “That was a way for us to do that. To give to them and let them know that we appreciate what they’re doing and that we’re thinking of them.”
Edwards said there are two ways people can assist, by donating commercially manufactured PPE, such as N95 masks, gowns and gloves, or through financial donations.
“We are hearing daily from community members who want to help our physicians, nurses and care providers who are putting themselves on the frontlines during this crisis,” said Edwards. “The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund gives them an opportunity and an avenue to show their support for our frontline staff in this community. “
Donations of commercially-made personal protective equipment can be arranged by contacting the Madisonville Foundation office at 270-825-5786 or by visiting our foundation website at www.supportbaptisthealth.org/madisonville.
Only commercially-made equipment can be accepted at this time to comply with infection control standards. If you would like to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 270-825-5150.