I work as a laundry aide, and I love my job. I get to interact with all of our patients and care for their belongings and make sure their clothing and linens are clean and fresh. It may not seem that important to some people, but I take it very seriously. Patient comfort is important, and even though my job isn’t clinical, I can still be a major part of patient care and dignity. You would be surprised how clean clothing and clean, good smelling, soft sheets can improve a patient’s stay and recovery.
In my spare time, I volunteer at a women’s shelter where, coincidentally, I work in the laundry area. To say it brings me joy to make sure these women have clean linens and bedding is an understatement. I never tire of it. When I was younger, I spent some time in a shelter, so I understand the importance of volunteer hours and cleanliness. The stairs to the basement laundry room are narrow and steep. I am always careful to make sure that I have one hand free to hold the railing while I carry baskets of laundry up and down the stairs, or so I thought. On Christmas Eve, I found myself in an ambulance on the way to the hospital with a fractured pelvis and hip. I had fallen down the stairs at the shelter. I was in so much pain and I felt so foolish; however, those feelings paled in comparison to my immediate worry about how I would pay my bills. I live paycheck to paycheck, and every cent I make is earmarked to cover my bills with nothing left over. I knew that I would be off work for months, and I also knew that if I couldn’t pay my rent, I would be evicted.
A co-worker came to visit me at the rehab center during my second week of inpatient therapy. She brought her computer and helped me submit an on-line application to the Hug Fund. Even though I’m familiar with the fund, I still didn’t think it could help me, because I thought it sounded too good to be true. It was true. Employee donations made it possible for me to get a grant to pay some of my bills and rent. It saved me. Honestly, in the back of my mind, lying in that ambulance, I thought I would have to become a resident of the same women’s shelter where I volunteered. It was so upsetting to me. I had worked too hard to go back to that life. Employees who donate to the Hug Fund really need to pay close attention to stories like mine. I want them to understand the impact of their donations. For me, the Hug Fund truly prevented me from being homeless. I cannot express my feelings, and I just don’t have the words to explain how grateful I am.