Martinez-based When HELP Can’t Wait is a non-profit advocacy group that provides assistance to local nursing home residents. So when the group was awarded $2,500 from Wells Fargo Bank in December, they were overwhelmed with joy.
Last month saw the donation of $1,200 to the group from the Augusta Kiwanis Club. That money will be used for support costs for the facility the group rents.
The money from Wells Fargo was awarded to When HELP Can’t Wait for their clothes closet project. Their most popular program, the clothes closet, involves taking donated clothes and accessories and displaying them as a store would. Nursing home residents are allowed to “shop” for clothes.
According to Helen McVicker, founder and president of When HELP Can’t Wait, the group serves from 10 to 20 nursing homes, depending on demand, by providing quality of life items to residents. Most of those homes are 100-bed facilities.
“Of course, occupancy is constantly changing as residents depart and new ones enter,” she said. “In 2012 we served a total of 7,820 persons through a variety of programs. The count is not yet final for 2013, but the clothes closet program alone served approximately 1,000 residents.”
McVicker said recognition of the group’s work – and in-kind donations to When HELP Can’t Wait – are imperative to the organization’s continuation.
“Our community is a diverse one and our nursing homes are filled with veterans, widows of veterans, local people from surrounding counties and from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds,” she said. “We have retired doctors, attorneys, ladies who have worked the cotton fields of South Georgia and residents from every occupation you can imagine.
“Residents are admitted when they and their families are no longer able to care for their physical needs due to medical conditions,” she continued. “It is difficult to speak to anyone in our area who has not experienced a nursing home stay for a grandparent, a favorite aunt or uncle or even their own parents. Caring for a senior while maintaining a full time job and a family of their own, many families are forced to look to local nursing homes to care for that aged relative.”
McVicker likens When HELP Can’t Wait to a ‘surrogate family’ when there is no one available to furnish the basic needs of the residents, such as clothes, toiletries, snack items and electronic devices.
“By helping care for these senior residents, we serve the many families across our area who are struggling with the long-term care of their loved ones,” she said. “Companies like Wells Fargo and community civic clubs like Kiwanis who help support When HELP Can’t Wait are supporting the multitude of families from across the CSRA whose loved ones need a little extra care in their twilight years.”