As 2015 begins here at Hospital Hospitality House, we look back on 2014 with gratitude to all of our volunteers who gave their time, talent and treasure to support our mission on a daily basis.
2014 was a year of transition for all of our volunteers as the House hired a new Volunteer Manager, J.C. Poma, who brought with him new opportunities and processes, but most importantly a love and sincere appreciation for everyone who has supported HHH in the past. “I learned the ropes of the House from all of our dedicated volunteers who have often times been here for years upon years. They taught me the true meaning of why we all support HHH – the guests”, said J.C.
Did you know that in 2014 HHH volunteers gave over 14,000 hours of their time? “Our community is full of servants” said Stacy Brinkley, President/CEO of Hospital Hospitality House.
With hundreds of volunteers to choose from, narrowed down to a half dozen finalists, the choice for the debut award of Hospital Hospitality House Volunteer of the Year was tough. The 2014 honoree is Jeff Moore, a dedicated volunteer who truly believes our mission is the best kept secret in Richmond and one that needs to be shared with everyone in the region. As an employee of Alpha Media USA, who owns the radio stations 93.1 Hank FM and 98.9/107.3 The Wolf, Jeff has a thorough knowledge of the Richmond market and is very well respected in the business world. His tireless efforts with Alpha Media have allowed him to share the good work of the House with the many individuals and organizations he works with.
In addition to the wealth of contacts Jeff has brought to HHH and the many times he has allowed our staff to go on-air to share our story, he has also been integral in helping the HHH staff start the Next Generation Committee, debuting with its first full committee meeting on January 13. Prior to serving on the Next Generation Executive Committee, Jeff was instrumental in helping the SAVOR Auction committee, often times stopping by meetings to share his connections and expertise. Reflecting the efforts of volunteers like Jeff, the SAVOR Committee led by Melissa Ball and the SAVOR Auction Committee led by Kate Van Sumeren, this year’s auction was the best to date in the history of SAVOR.
“We could not do what we do without all of our volunteers”, said Stacy. “Each and every one is an important piece of our daily operations and while this award only recognizes one outstanding volunteer, we are a family here at the House and I cannot thank enough our entire volunteer corps who make the House a place of healing for our guests. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Stop by our Volunteer Week Brunch on April 15th at 11:00 AM to celebrate Jeff and our entire Volunteer staff. “This is a way to meet and thank everyone affiliated with the House and I hope each and every volunteer can make it out to see the renovations and rebranding we are going through in early 2015”, said J.C.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering at Hospital Hospitality House email J.C. Poma, Volunteer Manager, at Jpoma@hhhrichmond.org.
In 2014, HHH provided lodging to 7,498 people receiving medical treatment in Richmond.
Your continued support ensures that guests have more than just a place to stay during a medical crisis – they have a warm, comfortable bed, a hot shower, a home cooked meal almost every night of the week, a fully stocked kitchen, and dedicated staff that makes their visit to Richmond a little less intimidating.
This holiday season, please donate to HHH – your tax deductible gift creates a home for families in medical crisis.
We’re pleased to welcome Tom Enders & Annie Fruhwald to Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond! Tom is our new Operations Manager and Annie is our Office Manager. Both will be invaluable to our team here at the House.
Tom is a Colorado native, transplanted to the Midwest in 2001, and now to the mid-Atlantic in 2014. He began his professional career in hospital administration where he was Director of Operations at an Academic Medical Center in Denver, and VP of Operations at a community hospital in southern Indiana. Altogether, Tom has spent about 16 years in hospital administration followed by another 14 years in facilities planning, design, construction, fit-out in both architectural firms and in private agencies performing government contract work. The last few years, prior to joining HHH, Tom spent time overseeing, as project manager, construction and fit-out of US Army research labs at Ft. Detrick and Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and a health facility renovation project at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia.
Annie is a local Richmonder. She studied hospitality from East Carolina University and is proud to call herself a Pirate! Previously, she served as administrative assistant/special events coordinator for Arena Racing USA. Annie is thrilled to be working as office manager alongside so many compassionate people at Hospital Hospitality House.
Welcome Annie & Tom!
The history of Hospitality Houses goes back as far as that of our Nation. For centuries, people have taken into their homes those who found themselves in crisis. Richmond has a rich history of using private homes as places to recuperate and heal. We’ve been doing it at Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond since 1984. And now we celebrate with National Hospital Hospitality House Week.
According to the Healthcare Hospitality Network (HHN), formerly the National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses (NAHHH), the need for families and caregivers to have access to affordable accommodations during a medical crisis or medical treatment has increased significantly during the past ten years. In recognition of this, the HHN has designated the week of July 20-26 as National Hospital Hospitality House Week. The Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond is a member of the HHN and is a “home away from home” for an average of 150 people on a daily basis while they or their loved ones undergo medical treatment at a local hospital.
Since its inception in 1984, we have been “a place to call home” for more than 142,000 patients and families in medical crisis. The House is Richmond’s premier provider of lodging and non-medical support services for these families and is the largest hospitality house in the country that operates on a donations-only basis. Our guests come to Richmond from across Virginia, the United States and beyond. They are adults and children, transplant recipients and cancer patients, trauma victims and veterans. We help them overcome distance, transportation and financial concerns to obtain the specialized medical care they need from the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System-Medical College of Virginia Hospitals (VCUHS MCVH), the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, or six other Richmond area hospitals. Without the Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond, families would pay an average of $100 a day for hotel and meal expenses. This would be financially impossible for many families and as a result they would need to decide to delay or forgo the medical treatment their loved one needs.
We’re pleased to welcome J.C. Poma to Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond! He is our new Volunteer Manager, replacing Katie Demaio, who left us recently to explore great new adventures.
J.C. comes to HHH after working for the local sports start-up Arena Racing USA. As the Sales Manager for Arena Racing, J.C. brings a wealth of contacts to HHH that he hopes will translate to increased involvement in all areas of the organization. One of J.C.’s first goals is to educate new groups (corporations, churches, schools etc.) that want to utilize their time, talent and treasure to support what he believes is one of the best kept secrets in Richmond, the House. His long term goal is to change our mantra from one of the best kept secrets to the most talked about nonprofit in Richmond. He believes there is no better way to do that than inviting an individual or group to volunteer their time and see our mission and interact with guests up close and personal. Speaking of personal, J.C. is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia and received his masters from Georgetown University. While at UVa, he met his fiancé and best friend, Jennifer. The two are getting married in September here in Richmond. In his spare time, J.C. enjoys Cross Fit and is an avid Washington Redskins fan, or as they say these days, ‘The Washington Football Team’.
J.C. is already making an impact with our fabulous volunteers. If you’d care to meet him or grab a coffee, he’ll be at JPoma@HHHRichmond.org.
While many of our guest make plans to spend some time with us at Hospital Hospitality House, being in medical crisis is generally not a planned thing. We also try to provide the comforts of a home-away-from home. That being said, there are certain things that we can provide, and certain things you might like to bring.
While we provide linens for your room, and you can certainly exchange them each day, we also provide a laundry room. Any favorite towels or blankets can certainly come with you. You can also bring detergent, but we have donated detergents should you need them.
Bring your favorite book or magazine. We have a library, just off of our lobby, and it’s relatively well stocked. We may not have the latest blockbusters, so be prepared.
Toiletries are another item that we receive through donations. Bring what you think you’ll need, and we can help to fill in what you’ve forgotten.
We have a communal kitchen stocked with supplies and donated food. We also have meals that are prepared on a regular basis by our volunteers. If you have favorites, or a restricted diet, you may label, store, and prepare it in our kitchen.
We also have a dedicated pediatric floor. Our volunteers have decorated and stocked it to make it as kid-friendly as possible. It is, however, for pediatric patients. If your little one is with a guest, make plans to keep them entertained. We keep a decent supply of board games and such for our general guests, but perhaps not enough for the littlest visitors.
Bring your attitude – the good one. We’ve provided Hospital Hospitality House as a place of healing. We love what we do, and you have our support, but it will be up to you to get better!
This year, on August 22nd, we’ll gather for our 9th Annual Gilbane Restaurant Walk! We’ll meet with friends and supporters and roam the cobblestones of Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom, and sample savory food and drink from each of the participating restaurants. This year we’ll visit, among others, Canal Bistro, Southern Railway Taphouse, Torero (formerly Europa), and The Tobacco Company.
The neat thing is that Gilbane is our main sponsor for this event. They help to nail down the restaurants, find corporate partners, and help to lead the walk. And they’re a construction firm. But we suppose building communities means being part of one.
The other neat thing is how much money we raise. Between your ticket purchases and outright donations, our 2013 Gilbane Restaurant Walk brought in $16,000. All of that for a night of laughing, eating, and drinking.
Last year, over 200 joined us for our walk. If you would like to purchase tickets, click here.
Have you ever wanted to really freak someone out? The next time you’re in line at the grocery store or bank, look at the person standing next to you, offer them your broadest smile, and proudly say, “Well, Hello There!” Gets them every time.
Bringing a smile to Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond is every bit as important as having a place to heal or feeding a deserving guest. In fact, studies have shown that smiling improves mood, is contagious, and can actually boost your immune system! When you startle the stranger next to you, you’re actually paying it forward!
It’s no secret that our continued success is based on two critical factors: Your financial support and the dedication of our volunteers. Much of our chatter revolves around things like our upcoming Gilbane Restaurant Walk and SAVOR Dinner, two important fundraising initiatives. We also take every opportunity to offer thanks to those who donate time. Sometimes, however, it’s the intangible gifts that leave a big impact.
We occasionally host volunteers who bring a musical donation to The House. They sing, play instruments, and lead our guests in song. Many doctors play music during procedures because it allows them to concentrate on the task at hand. Music at Hospital Hospital House allows our guests to concentrate on healing.
Have you ever lost yourself in a book? While it has no nutritional value, and no intrinsic healing power, losing yourself in a story can certainly take you away from your immediate troubles. We maintain a small library at The House, filled with donated books, and frequently we see a guest engrossed in an adventure or spy thriller.
Some special folks stopped by the other day to offer their own sort of intangible gift. Arts in the Alley came with paint, brushes, and ideas. They painted some colorful murals in and around The House. They won’t cure anyone, you can’t eat them, they won’t pay our electric bill, but they do offer a bit of cheer to everyone staying with us.
We’re still the largest Hospitality House in the nation that survives solely on donations. So please give. We also rely heavily on the groups that offer their time and compassion by volunteering to provide meals. So keep signing up to do that.
We’re also always on the lookout for a broad smile. Those can be in short supply.
Staying in a hotel is expensive. When you’re in medical crisis, that expense is the last thing that you want to worry about. While our primary mission is providing a “home-away-from-home” for those in need, we also try to do it in a manner that they can afford. We ask only that our guests make a $15 contribution per night for their stay at Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond.
For the better part of 30 years, we’ve not had to turn anyone away because of their ability to pay.
It costs around $50 per person – per night – for someone to stay at The House. Tonight we’ll have around 150 guests calling us “home” for the evening. As you can imagine, this gets costly, and this Spring is certainly no exception. So we’re asking for your help.
Can you sponsor a Hospital Hospitality House family? A donation of $50 will provide one night’s lodging for a guest. $350 provides us with the resources to house them for a week! We would certainly welcome any amount, and the only ones more thankful than us are the guests that you’ll be helping in their time of greatest need.
There are many ways to give. We accept donations online and via mail. We also appreciate contributions to our endowment, and many choose to contribute in memory of a loved one. But, again, any amount helps. So thank you in advance for helping us to provide that “home-away-from-home.”
We’re very fortunate at Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond. For over 30 years, we’ve been blessed to serve thousands of people in medical crisis who have come to Richmond for their treatment. They have come from all over the United States, and from over 30 foreign countries. So you might argue that we’ve had some “success.”
But success is a relative term. We are always in need of things like cereal and paper products. Serving this many guests, day in and day out, means that we’re always on the lookout for linens and toiletries. Most importantly, we rely heavily on two things: Your generosity of both time and money.
You may have caught us on the news recently. We were on WTVR (you can watch it here) with some great friends, Davis & Green. They’re electrical contractors, but a big part of their mission is giving back to their community. They have been great partners over the years, and included us in their Heroes Campaign. The Heroes Campaign spotlights people and organizations that do great things in the community. We might argue that Davis & Green are the heroes.
We also had great financial success with our recent Fancy Hat Party. A fun-filled tradition, your generosity helped us raise over $45,000 for Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond. That money goes a long way and is greatly appreciated.
And we would be nowhere without the work of our volunteers. When you look at an organization our size, it’s typical to have a large staff to keep things going. We don’t have a large staff. Our volunteers, like Church of Christ at Three Chopt, Midlothian Christian Fellowship, and BB&T (just to name a few!), visit us regularly. They prepare meals, lead games, schedule music, paint walls, do a bit of landscaping…all of the things that a large paid staff would normally handle. We couldn’t serve our guests without their help and sacrifice.
Lastly, a huge key to the success of our volunteer program recently gave us some sad news. For many years, the person who organized this amazing group of people was our Manager of Volunteers, Katie DeMaio. She has been the one to make certain that hot meals were served, singers were singing, games were played, birthdays were celebrated, milestones recognized, and our guests were made to feel at home. She also took great pains that no holiday would go unnoticed, and that’s important when you’re away from home.
Earlier this month, and with a heavy heart, Katie told us that she would be moving on to new endeavors. She said,
Dear Volunteers and Friends,
First and foremost I want to thank everyone for their time and energy spent at the Hospital Hospitality House over the years as part of our volunteer program. This house would not be what it is without the countless hours given by you all.
The last five years at the Hospitality House have been a dream come true. Every person that I have met who has become involved here at the House has shown me a side of hospitality and caring that I will take with me on my new adventure.
I want to again thank you from the bottom of my heart for your hours of service, your time and your well wishes.
She’ll be sorely missed and we certainly wish her the very best in her new adventure. Given the time and energy that she’s devoted at Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond, we don’t feel as if we’ve seen the last of her.