By Barbara Malinowski and Sister Nora Sweeney
Niagara Gazette — Mount St. Mary’s Hospital places a priority on serving those in need on a year-round basis, but it is during the Christmas season where efforts of our staff gain the greatest spotlight and everything that we do comes into focus.
Due to the growing need in our community, this year has been an especially busy and challenging one. Fortunately with that growing need are many more staff and community members who continue to be very generous in providing necessary assistance.
We remain committed to working with area congregations in establishing health information and awareness programs by providing resources, education and guidance throughout the year. We are also proud of our strong partnership with the Heart, Love and Soul Food Pantry in Niagara Falls, where health and social needs of the clients are addressed. By visiting with clients there several times each week, we have been able to develop a relationship with them to identify potential health risks and connect them with the care they need at Mount St. Mary’s Neighborhood Health Center.
Through the Neighborhood Health Center, thousands throughout our community receive the health care treatment they need annually, many of whom would have nowhere else to turn. The facility offers primary care physicians, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and more. We also collaborate with the Niagara Cerebral Palsy dental program on our “Caring Smiles” program, which assists patients who are unable to afford dental services to have their teeth cleaned and other dental concerns addressed. In addition to providing needed health care, we also have and continue to receive generous donations of clothing, bedding and personal items to help our patients when the needs arise. Because of the expertise of the health center’s staff and physicians, we have also been able to help them navigate through the various available government programs to get them the assistance for which they qualify.
As we countdown to Christmas, our efforts to help our fellow community members have intensified. One of the more active days occurs in mid-December when moms and dads will have an opportunity to attend a special Christmas “shopping” program which takes place in Niagara Falls. Our team is busy preparing for this event where eligible families will be able to “shop” for the items they need. Clothing, hats and gloves that have been purchased and provided by parishioners at local churches, schools and private businesses will be offered for more than 300 children. Families will also receive gift cards, towels and personal items they are unable to purchase with food stamps.
As the smiles on the faces of our recipients grow bigger each year, unfortunately so does the need. The generosity of the community has been overwhelming in helping to ensure those families in need are able to have what they need to celebrate Christmas.
Thank you to staff, physicians, volunteers, and others throughout our community who help us to keep the spirit of Christmas alive year round by bringing individuals and families the health care and services they deserve.
Barbara Malinowski, a retired hospital administrator and Registered Nurse, is Parish Nurse Coordinator for Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Sr. Nora Sweeney is a social worker at Mount St. Mary’s Neighborhood Health Center.Barbara Malinowski, a retired hospital administrator and Registered Nurse, is Parish Nurse Coordinator for Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Sr. Nora Sweeney is a social worker at Mount St. Mary's Neighborhood Health Center.