Bringing Light to Critical Care
If you’ve spent more than a few hours in a hospital either visiting a friend or caring for a family member, you know it can be a mixed bag of heartbreak, terror, and optimism. Now imagine you have a young daughter who is suffering from a critically ill condition and you’ve traveled from outside the area for hospital care. And your medical expenses are outlandish and your 4-year old son is stuck hanging out in the hospital for a week. It’s the nightmare you want to wake up from….now.
To help make the nightmare more bearable, staff and volunteers from There With Care, a local nonprofit serving families facing medical crisis, step in. They sit down and ask what families need to make their hospital stay a little less painful. There With Care focuses on immediate needs of families who are referred by social workers or hospital staff. In just three years, the Bay Area Chapter of There With Care has served more than 350 families during a fragile time, providing care and support. They are currently helping families at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, and expanding soon to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco and The Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland.
A common question I hear from busy parents of young kids is “What ideas do you have for hands-on volunteer projects aside from the usual holiday toy drive?” This is especially important for those living in the Silicon Valley where keeping our kids grounded in reality is a daily challenge. Getting involved with There With Care is a great option because it’s relatable to kids and teaches empathy first-hand. Every kid has been sick, they get it. As a parent you can walk through a real dialogue exchange with the kids by asking them questions such as “What is something we can say to someone who is sick? What can we do to help them smile?”
Here’s a few examples of activities you can do, either as a family, workplace, church, social group….you get the idea:
Grocery shop at There With Care’s warehouse, then deliver to a family at their
home or hospital
Bring puzzles and games to the hospital and play with a sibling of an ill patient
Donate gas cards to help families travel more affordably
Create “Baby Essential” kits with new/used clothes, books, diapers and more
Join "Team Bake" to prepare homemade foods for families
Provide mentoring and tutoring for patients and siblings
Help at the warehouse, including sorting diapers, cleaning toys, and organizing pantry
- Have a lemonade stand, with donations going to There With Care
If you’re up for more involvement, There With Care is also looking for volunteers to help launch hospital programs in San Francisco and Oakland. Here's a short video to give you a visual of the power of the program.
Interested in volunteering or learning more? Check out There With Care or email There With Care and contact Sara Alexander at email@example.com.