by Susan Sanders, Community Relations Director

Each organization, business, or family has many parts, all of which play a different role to contribute to success or fulfillment of their purpose. It can even be said of the human body that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Not everyone is a hand, but without the brain, muscles, digestive system, etc. the hand couldn’t function.

It’s the same way with Hospice of Marshall County – Shepherd’s Cove. Hospice care is based on a team concept with social workers, nurses, home care aides, medical director, administrative staff, donors, volunteers, chaplains, and support staff making up the whole organization dedicated to providing, with a servant’s heart, compassionate end-of-life care to families when they need it most.

Each month as we have our Thrift Shoppe Team meeting, I try to share with the group how their efforts make a difference in a hospice patient’s life. Proceeds from the sales at the Thrift Shoppe allow us to care for those who have no insurance coverage or other reimbursement method. As the work they do at the Shoppe is hard work, done in cold, rain, heat and even dirty environments, my goal is to encourage them by sharing the stories of the rest of the team’s ministry of providing comfort care to those living with a life-limiting illness.

My goal … encourage them. What never fails, however, is that they encourage and inspire me! There are stories after stories of how their heart sets them apart.

One of our regular customers, Mrs. Shirley often tells us that if we don’t see her at the Thrift Shoppe, we need to find out what has happened to her as she lives alone with no family in this area. Week before last, she didn’t show up. This was very unusual as she shops with us twice a week, regular as clockwork. When she didn’t show up the 2nd day, our staff started hunting her. She was so grateful when we called her. She had wrecked her car and is currently unable to get out. I can imagine how it made her day that someone cared enough to go that extra mile. Our team members were concerned about her.

Another regular customer has been absent as she is undergoing chemo treatment. Our Thrift Shoppe employees are keeping in touch with her family while she is out of town for treatment. As we were talking about these customers who are important to us, one of the team members involved in donation pickups talked about how many times people are donating items of family members they have lost and just want to chat about them.   It is an emotional journey for the family and our staff members. While we may not have known their loved one personally, it blesses our heart for them to share with us. and while the team members working in the Thrift Shoppe may not have been the ones providing the hands-on physical care for their loved one, their work at the Shoppe allows the rest of the team to continue with our business of ministry.

While the whole of Hospice of Marshall County is greater than any of our parts, it is true that for each of us, our heart sets us apart!