We are thrilled to announce that York Hospital’s Hancock Family Fund for Healthy Aging recently received a $35,000 Endowment from the York Lions Club to Improve Health Outcomes for Seniors.
Christmas came a little early when the York Lions Club contacted York Hospital in December with a request to endow proceeds from their fundraising activities to improve health outcomes for seniors in our community. Lions Club spokesperson and retired engineer Fred Wandland said that, “helping all ages is important to the Club but they have seen an increasing need to help our older adult population during the pandemic.” The generous donation of $35,000 was the result of almost 40 years of fundraising support from both summer and winter residents of York–and the York Lions Club felt that supporting the hospital was a great way to give back and strengthen the community. One Lions Club member, who is also a York Hospital volunteer meal delivery driver, added that he has seen firsthand the great work the hospital does helping seniors both on the hospital campus as well as in their homes. “Due to my own advanced age and increasing community spread with the virus, I’m not doing the home meal deliveries right now to be as safe as possible. But up until COVID-19 came to the Seacoast, I loved delivering meals to people and seeing how grateful they were to have some human interaction and get a healthy meal delivered right to their doorstep. I miss it and hope to return as a volunteer driver in 2021. This past year has been so hard for so many people, and I know York Hospital is helping seniors as much as they possibly can.”
The York Lions Club and York Hospital agreed that the Hancock Family Fund for Healthy Aging would benefit from the $35,000 donation, as the fund supports both medical and non-medical programs focused on older adults in our community. Home meal and prescription delivery services, as well as the hospital’s in-person medical House Calls program, have all seen sharp increases in demand due to the pandemic. Katherine Dodge, York Hospital leader for Older Adult Services confirmed that house calls are up 52% compared to last year as older, sicker patients have been wary to leave their homes due to coronavirus concerns. Similarly, York Hospital has delivered 58% more meals to seniors in their homes this year compared to 2019.
Healthy aging is a serious concern for Seacoast area residents–Maine ranks first out of the 50 American states with the largest number of residents 65 and older (20.6%), followed closely by Florida (20.5%). York Hospital’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment identified “Healthy Aging” as a priority health issue, with goals to increase senior access to quality healthcare and improve social determinants of health in the areas of food insecurity, social isolation, and transportation. The Hancock Family Fund for Healthy Aging supports these important in-demand programs to help improve the overall health and well-being of older adults in the community.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Lion Fred Wandland explained that the Lions Club began in 1925 with Helen Keller, who challenged the Lions to be the “knights of the blind.” “That’s how the eye glass and eyesight programs started, that’s how the Lions started helping people with eye care of all kinds,” said Wandland. The York Lions Club continues to provide sight and hearing assistance to the York Community through the York Community Services Association (YCSA). In 2016, the York Lions Club combined with the Kittery Club and members continue to dedicate thousands of volunteer hours to service projects each year and fundraise for many community needs. The Club is locally renowned for their annual Christmas tree sale and their large warehouse filled with medical equipment that community members are welcome to use if needed. “If you want to volunteer to help people, that’s what we do,” Wandland said.
Robin LaBonte, York Hospital’s Co-CEO and chief financial officer, thanked the Lions Club for their generous gift, saying that “This considerable support comes at a critical time for the hospital and the community we serve.” She added, “York Hospital is proud to partner with the Lions Club to bolster our supportive senior services for those most vulnerable during the pandemic and beyond,” and echoed Helen Keller’s sentiments that “together we CAN do so much!”
To learn more about the Hancock Family Fund for Healthy Aging at York Hospital, visit https://www.yorkhospital.com/giving-back/
For more information about the combined York/Kittery Lions Club, visit https://kitterylions.club/