The Pokagon Fund
The Pokagon Fund Grant Helps Support Caring Circle Programs
For the past decade, The Pokagon Fund has underwritten progressive initiatives to transform the lives of southwest Michigan residents. Caring Circle was among the organizations selected to receive grant funding for 2018.
“The Pokagon Fund has been a treasured partner in helping us serve southwest Michigan families,” said Melinda Gruber, PhD, Caring Circle President and CEO. “We thank them for their commitment to bettering the lives of their neighbors through supporting Caring Circle programs.”
The $10,000 allocation, supports Caring Circle, Hospice at Home Transitions Service and Lory’s Place programs, which provide professional and volunteer services without charge to their patients, families, and participants.
“We are proud to support initiatives like those offered by Caring Circle so that our friends and neighbors in Harbor Country can receive compassionate, holistic care, whether they are patients and families coping with a life-limiting illness or children learning to live without a loved one,” said Janet Cocciarelli, The Pokagon Fund Executive Director.
Since 2007, Caring Circle has been fortunate to receive the support of grants provided by The Pokagon Fund. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from 2017 to 2018, stories like the one below are are possible.
Caring Circle Transitions Service
Caring Circle’s Transitions program is directly impacted by the Pokagon Fund. Services are offered to local residents coping with advanced progressive conditions – both during and after the completion of medical treatments, and are focused on treating the condition. It is a support system for patients and their family, to provide information and referrals to personalize care during the time of transitions.
“Transitions is a free community service program offered by Caring Circle. We provide assistance with equipment, medication aid, applying for Medicaid, and setting up in-home care,” said Brandi Edge, Transitions Program Coordinator. “Many people we serve are living on Social Security benefits and often have to choose between paying bills or purchasing medications.”
Kathleen Steinborn has seen the benefits of Transitions firsthand. She was in constant pain, with horrible tremors and headaches. She was recommended to see a neurologist but struggled to find funds to pay for the visit.
“I had no insurance whatsoever. I had a stroke and was hospitalized,” said Kathleen. “That’s when I got in touch with Brandi. I needed insurance because I had to find out what was going on with my health. Without the Transitions program I'd be completely on my own. I probably wouldn't be going to a doctor."
Through the Transitions program, Kathleen is able to receive assistance managing her illness. Brandi has helped Kathleen to complete a Medicaid application and guide her through the process of medical insurance. In addition, she regularly schedules physician visits and refers in-home care services.
All these stories were made possible by a $60,000 grant from 2014 through 2016.
Healing Power of Touch
Leslie, a Chikaming Township hospice care patient with breast cancer, struggled with pain at the end of her life. Medications helped somewhat, but Leslie was unable to relax her body. Although massage was too painful initially, a session of Reiki and energy work by a Caring Circle massage therapist slowly relaxed Leslie. By the end the session, light massage soothed her and she was resting comfortably in bed with no signs of distress or pain. Her family was grateful for the symptom relief that lasted over the course of the next few days before Leslie passed away peacefully with comfort.
Accessing Care When Needed
Regular podiatry care is often common for patients who have diabetes or other health issues. Transportation to appointments can be a struggle. Due to their physical decline, many patients can no longer travel by car, and the cost of medical transport can be expensive. With support from the Pokagon Fund, Bill, a patient in Three Oaks received regular medical transport for his badly needed podiatry appointments.
A home-cooked meal can become a luxury when you no longer have the energy to cook. This was very true for a patient and her husband in New Buffalo. She was connected with a volunteer who enjoys cooking for others. During one of the volunteer’s visits, she asked the patient what her dream meal would be and she told the volunteer that her favorite meal was lobster. When the volunteer visited during the holidays, she surprised the patient and her husband with the gift of a delicious lobster dinner. Support from the Pokagon Fund has helped to make many meaningful volunteer and patient connections possible.
Lory's Place School Outreach Programs
Grant allocation from The Pokagon Fund allowed Lory’s Place school outreach programs in Harbor Country to assist many new schools. Thanks to the support from the Pokagon Fund, groups at Chikaming Elementary, New Buffalo Elementary, New Buffalo Middle/High, River Valley Middle/High, and Three Oaks Elementary were able to increase their peer support group programs.
Being a child is hard enough; being a grieving child can feel completely overwhelming, different, and alone. Sarah and Stacy found themselves feeling just that after the sudden death of their father. In addition to attending their monthly school groups, the girls regularly attended the First Mates bi-weekly support group at Lory’s Place. There they were able to openly share their feelings of sadness, anger, and confusion about their father’s death. Sarah and Stacy both are relieved to have found a safe place to talk about their father while in these support groups, and said they now understand that all varieties of their
feelings are ok and that everyone experiences grief differently.
Caring Circle Transitions Service
The Pokagon Fund transformed the lives of many families benefiting the Caring Circle Transitions program such as Massage Therapy, Transitions Transportation, and Volunteer Coordination. Transitions, which helps patients and their families navigate the stages of care in the Caring Circle continuum and connects them with community resources for additional needs. This program includes support from Volunteer Services, HouseCalls, Palliative Care, and Hospice programs, as well as connections to community resources, so patients and families can receive appropriate care for any life stage.
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