Last Friday, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians staff volunteered three hours per staff member at LifeCare Alliance packing, organizing, and distributing groceries to individuals and families in need in Central Ohio. In total, the OAFP staff contributed a combined 15 hours, working toward their goal of volunteering 70 hours this year.
In honor of celebrating 70 years of Academy history, the OAFP staff is challenging all OAFP members to complete 70 hours of community service before the end of the year. If every OAFP member completed 70 hours of service, there would be 350,000 hours of service donated, along with hundreds, and potentially thousands, of lives touched across the state.
“By combining volunteer service with celebration, we are able to give back to our communities and commemorate a milestone year in our organization,” said Ann Spicer, executive vice president of the OAFP. “Family medicine goes beyond providing clinical care and I encourage everyone, if you’re not doing so already, to give back to your communities beyond your classroom and office walls.”
LifeCare Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, provides a comprehensive array of health and nutrition services to older adults, and medically challenged or homebound residents. With the OAFP’s mission focusing on improving the health of patients by advocating for and advancing family medicine, this volunteer opportunity aligned strategically in the work being done by the OAFP, which is building healthy communities.
LifeCare Alliance is one of the five largest Meals-on-Wheels providers in the United States, producing more than 4,000 meals for seniors and medically challenged and disabled individuals and 2,000 Meals-for-Kids each day.
“Our founder, Catherine Black, noted in the original meeting minutes in 1898 that she founded our Agency ‘to take care of those nobody else pays any attention to,’ ” said Sky Sharma, development associate at LifeCare Alliance. “When you combine her statement with our modern tagline, that we are Nourishing the Human Spirit, it rings true to who we are, and how we serve more than 16,000 clients, 365 days a year.”
With nearly 10,000 active volunteers who contribute over 130,000 volunteer hours annually, this organization saves Ohio taxpayers over $62,000 per year for each client assisted. More than a million and a half meals get distributed on a yearly basis to those in need. The OAFP staff volunteered in the Groceries-to-Go department, where staff were given a checklist and asked to organize and bag donated food and non-perishable items (i.e. cereal, fruit and vegetable produce, canned food, meat, dairy, etc.) into a grocery cart, which was then turned over to the recipient to load into their vehicle. The day started off slow, but soon picked up the pace once the afternoon hit.
In total, the OAFP staff was able to organize nearly 15 grocery trips and worked collaboratively to get the groceries to the customer in a timely manner.
LifeCare Alliance relies heavily on their volunteers to make what they do a continuous reality to those who need it most. They currently have no waiting list for those who need support, which very few organizations in the nation can do. As critical members and family physicians in your community, we hope you take the pledge to commit to 70 hours of community service in 2018.
If you would like to know more about volunteering for LifeCare Alliance, visit their website.
For more information about the Academy’s “Cheers to 70 Years” campaign, highlighting our 70th anniversary, visit our website. And, watch future editions of the Weekly Family Medicine Update to see where the staff volunteers next!