More than 1,200 entries were submitted to Local Voice Media’s If I Could campaign, which offered the winner of a random drawing $5,000. This year’s winner was the Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg.
“I think folks don’t realize our services to folks in the community dealing with end of life issues are free to everybody,” said Audrey Smith, executive director of the organization. “We do not charge for the services we provide.”
Hospice House was founded in 1982 with the goal of making death a process where people have the right support. The organization started as a way to provide hospice services to those in need while providing caregivers the opportunity for a respite from their daily duties.
In July of 2002, the organization opened its own doors with the construction of a “home away from home,” according to volunteer and operations director Diane Schwarz.
Tucked away in the woods behind a neighborhood, Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg has seen more and more patients since opening its home.
In a given year, 160 people will receive end of life care at the home, another 800 family members will receive bereavement care. Every month about 25-30 care providers will receive respite support services, according to the organization’s website.
“End of life is going to impact everybody,” Smith said. “The Hospice House in Williamsburg is a really unique organization. It reflects the spirit and the culture of the community we live in.”
While death is inevitable, it shouldn’t be looked at in such harsh terms, according to Schwarz.
“It’s a life event, and it’s something that we can make as comfortable and as compassionate as possible,” Schwarz said. “It’s something we can talk about.”
The $5,000 donation, Smith said, will fund the organization’s mission to assist families in Greater Williamsburg with end of life care at no cost.
“It’s for anyone in the community and free of charge,” Schwarz said. “Again this home and our services was built by the community, supported by the community, so we’re constantly looking at what we can do to give back.”
Listen to the Hospice House of Williamsburg radio interviews aired on 92.3 The Tide below:
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