Keep Me Safe, Love Me, Make It Easy, Own It — These service standards are at the heart of everything the team does at AdventHealth Hendersonville. Recently, these principles were put to work outside the doors of AdventHealth Hendersonville’s care facilities with a very special community COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
AdventHealth Hendersonville partnered with two area non-profits for a “help-the-helper” vaccine clinic on February 5, 2021.
“We have so many dedicated volunteers throughout our area who are bringing needed assistance to our older adults and to underserved populations,” said Graham Fields, AdventHealth Hendersonville director of government relations. “So, this is an opportunity to make sure they are vaccinated so they can do even more in the community.”
AdventHealth gave volunteers ages 65-plus for the Council on Aging for Henderson County (COAHC) and Interfaith Assistance Ministry (IAM) their first dose shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Interfaith Assistance Ministry is the largest provider of emergency crisis services to people living at or below the poverty line in Henderson County. These services include rent and utility assistance, clothing, a food pantry, and, since the pandemic, a drive-thru food distribution program.
“During this pandemic we’ve doubled how much service we’ve provided in 2020 — literally doubled it,” said Elizabeth Moss, IAM executive director. “The pandemic has severely impacted our volunteer base. People, especially in the 65-plus group, are terrified to come back without a vaccine. So, we went from having 225 active volunteers every week to, for awhile, having two.”
Gary Lambert volunteers for IAM. Before the pandemic hit, he met with people coming to the agency for assistance with emergency crisis services, including rent and utility assistance. “I’m just so appreciative to AdventHealth for arranging this process. It allows me to feel more comfortable as I go back into my volunteer role, and certainly in my everyday life.”
The Council on Aging for Henderson County provides and coordinates services to engage, connect, and support adults in the community as they age. It provides programs such as senior companions and caregivers. Its largest service is the vital Meals on Wheels program, which was forced to drop from serving 280 hot meals to homebound older adults each day before the pandemic, to providing five frozen meals to these adults once a week.
“In spite of the pandemic, AdventHealth Hendersonville was able to move forward with its contract to become a secondary meal provider for the program, and pivoted to produce the frozen meals,” said Keith Logan, COAHC executive director. But, returning to daily hot meals for 33 routes would require nearly 200 active volunteers at any given time. Logan said this opportunity to vaccinate the volunteers age 65-plus means, “Those that have continued to serve during the pandemic can do so more confidently. Many who have been sitting on the sidelines for the last year will be able to return and bolster the ranks to help us return to the pre-pandemic processes.”
Jane DeMartini volunteers for both organizations and is grateful for the safety measures they have put in place to reduce the risks for volunteers and the people they serve. “At IAM they’re making us do the safety procedures we need to do while still getting the work done inside the office. You feel the danger a little bit for yourself there, but it is just the opposite with the Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels. I feel I’m the danger going into someone else’s home. It will be a great relief not to have that anymore.”
When the organizations notified DeMartini about the vaccine opportunity, she drove back from her trip to Florida just to get the shot. “We jumped in the car. Came home Thursday and I’m having the vaccine today. Go back to Florida tomorrow. And then back home on the 20th of February to get back to some kind of normal.”
DeMartini will be back in time for her second dose and to get back to volunteering.
AdventHealth’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ is this time taking the form of helping the helpers, so people across our community who rely on these volunteers can feel whole.
is the director of communications and public relations at AdventHealth Hendersonville.
AdventHealth | April 2021