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Emergency Department Clothes Closet Sparks Grass-roots Effort

Volunteers

HANFORD − Thanks to a grass-roots effort by nurses and volunteers at Adventist Health / Central Valley Network, patients who are discharged from the Emergency Department will now leave with clothing, and a sense of dignity.

In December 2013, Peggy Silva, a case manager for Adventist Medical Center-Hanford, says a homeless patient was given discharge orders but had no clothes, no phone and no family. In these instances, the department has a small container with clothing inside, but it was down to the bare minimum. So, Silva put together what she could and provided the patient with surgery pants.

“I thought to myself, we need to replenish somehow,” says Silva, “so I organized a clothes drive for all three facilities, Reedley, Selma and Hanford and it did quite well.”

The clothes drive sparked an even bigger movement by the staff. The network’s Director of Volunteer Resources Tanya Hutchison heard about the efforts and decided there was a need in the community. She spoke with the volunteer group at Central Valley General Hospital and the AMC-Hanford Volunteer Service League, which dedicated one of its events toward project “Emergency Department Clothes Closet.”

The Central Valley Auxiliary allocated over $1,000 worth of sweats in all different sizes for men and women and even raised money during its Spring Fling luncheon in April. 

“I am so blessed to work with these volunteers,” says Hutchison. “They heard about this and took immediate action to help.” 

AMC-Reedley had the most success with the clothes drive. The extra clothing came in handy when a patient who was discharged from another hospital, wearing hospital-based yellow paper pants, arrived in the Emergency Department. Reedley staff clothed the person with items from one of the containers.

Although the containers are meant for clothing, someone put a stuffed animal inside one. When a young child at AMC-Reedley needed lab work done, a staff member knew just what to do. “The child was very scared, crying,” says Silva, “so somebody knew the stuffed animal was in the bin and they went to retrieve it and gave it to the child.” This kind act helped comfort the child that day.

Donations of clothing, socks and shoes can be made to the Emergency Department Clothes Closet by contacting Peggy Silva at (559)-537-2396. Monetary donations can also be made to the Foundations at (559)-537-0760.