“If ever there was a question about why we do what we do, days like today answer that.”
By Michelle Ryan
The USA Health Department of Internal Medicine recently presented kitchen items, cleaning supplies and toiletries to The Sybil Smith Homeless Shelter, a project of the Dumas Wesley Foundation, at the conclusion of its annual community engagement event.
“One of the department’s pillars is community engagement, and it’s important that we find ways to support our community,” said Brittany Brown, R.N., M.S.N., director of operations for internal medicine.
“Many of our USA Health patients live, work and play within miles of our facilities.”
Department staff selected The Sybil Smith Homeless Shelter for women and children as the beneficiary of this year’s drive. The facility’s 18 apartments are at capacity and currently house 18 adults and 47 children. Four families were identified as needing assistance during the holidays, and the donations will support all of them.
“These individuals are either working or going to school full time, required to conform to an 8 p.m. curfew and must be drug- and alcohol-free throughout their duration at Sybil Smith,” Brown said. “The shelter provides up to 24 months of temporary housing while these women get back on their feet.”
During October, the internal medicine department collected more than $1,200 in needed supplies as identified by the organization, including pillows, cleaning supplies and kitchen items.
In years past, department leaders have delivered items to recipients such as Penelope House, Feeding the Gulf Coast and Whitley Elementary School.
“Being a part of the community engagement drive was a joyful experience,” said Jaquea Leggett, a care access associate at the Stanton Road Clinic. “Just being able to give back to those in need made my heart smile. It’s so awesome how the organization uses their resources to help change lives.”
Wyvonnia Payton, a care access associate at the Mastin location, enjoyed building on the teamwork within the internal medicine department along with supporting a worthy cause in the community.
“It does the heart good to know that there are shelters that really care,” she said. “We often take things for granted, like meeting our daily needs of safety, food and shelter, but we must never look down on anyone less fortunate than ourselves. We must have love and enough compassion to understand that they could easily be one of us.”
Brown said involving the team in the project, from the planning to the delivery, made this year’s drive even more memorable.
“If ever there was a question about why we do what we do, days like today answer that,” she said. “Every year our community engagement event grows, but this year was extra special. Having the team there solidified how important it is to involve the individuals who make all that we do work.”