DaVita® Stories

Community Involvement as a Team

Around the holidays is the perfect time to give back to others and help those in need. I personally feel that community involvement and being able to make a difference in the lives of others is very important. My team and I strive to make a difference in the lives of others in our community year-round, even when we do not work with these individuals on a daily basis.

St. Vincent De Paul is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) that does a lot of wonderful things for people in our community. The organization has a food pantry, soup kitchen and housing for homeless individuals. It also provides counseling services to those suffering with addictions. Many individuals come to the soup kitchen to warm up from the cold weather, as well as to get a hot meal and a sandwiches to take out for a meal later that night.

The soup kitchen requests volunteers from the community to help serve meals and clean up on Saturdays. I recently spent an afternoon with three other DaVita teammates volunteering and serving meals to those in need. It was a fulfilling and humbling experience and made us want to do more for those in need. We shared our experiences with the rest of our team and encouraged our fellow teammates to volunteer with us.

While we were volunteering, we were told there is a great need for mugs, grits, peanut butter, healthy snack packs and salad dressings, as well as a few other small items during the winter months. With cold weather upon us, many of the people who come into St. Vincent De Paul will keep the mugs that come with the hot beverages, resulting in a shortage. My team decided to help by collecting the items mentioned and delivering them to the soup kitchen. The soup kitchen director was appreciative of our assistance and our DaVita team has committed to continue to be actively involved in volunteering and collecting high-demand items.

In addition to volunteering at St. Vincent De Paul, our team started working alongside local businesses, churches and non-profit organizations to collect various food items for holiday baskets. These baskets are created for pre-screened individuals who meet specific criteria to be eligible, so that they are able to have a nice holiday dinner to share with their families. My team collected over 30 cans of sweet potatoes and we delivered them to the church that was putting together the baskets. Two days before the holiday, recipients are able to pick up their individualized baskets. It feels good knowing we’re able to help our community in this way as a team.

Another fulfilling project was coordinated by one of our fellow teammates, Lynn Homerston. Lynn is a patient care technician (PCT) and also a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves. She was speaking to a friend stationed abroad who shared that her troops could really use some holiday cheer. Our patients and teammates decided to write holiday cards for the Role 3 Nato Hospital in Kandahar Afghanistan, in an effort to bring some holiday cheer to those that are unable to be with their families this year as they are defending our freedom and our country.

It is such a heartwarming and wonderful thing, to give back during the holiday season. I find the holidays to be a great time of the year to be grateful for all that you have while remembering that the holiday season is also about giving to others. This is a wonderful time of the year to see how your team can help out and get more involved in your local community.

How are you spreading holiday cheer? Leave a comment below!

Cheryl Dostie

Cheryl Dostie

Cheryl Dostie is a licensed clinical social worker at Middlesex Dialysis in Middletown, CT. Chery will be celebrating her three year anniversary with the Village in January. Cheryl is also on the medical board of the CT Chapter of the National Kidney Foundation. Her passion to become a social worker was fostered by her mom. One of the best parts of being a social worker, is seeing people make positive changes to improve their quality of life. Cheryl has always been a big advocate of community involvement and volunteering and giving back to others. During her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.