Caring community members donate funds, supplies to LMH Health during COVID-19 crisis
Courtney Bernard, LMH Health Foundation
In the midst of the COVID-19 healthcare crisis, local community members are coming together to support LMH Health employees and patients. Over the past few weeks, LMH Health has seen an outpouring of local support, including monetary donations and supplies like masks and gloves.
Handmade fabric barrier masks are a fast-growing grassroots effort around the country to support healthcare workers. LeEtta Felter, an Olathe mom of two daughters with immunodeficiency, wanted to support the effort by creating handmade masks for “anyone who is helping keep our world going.”
Felter started Masks of Mercy, an organization dedicated to making and distributing protective face masks. She coordinates the acquisition of materials – like fabric and elastic – for the masks, and safely distributes them to community members so they can make the masks and then return them to Felter to give away. Felter’s team has also started creating 3D-printed masks.
Masks of Mercy prioritizes donations to medical workers and first responders, but also gives to groups like cancer patients, individuals with immunodeficiency and volunteers at food banks.
“Besides helping to close the gap in availability of masks, one of the best bi-products of this effort is that we are giving people something to do while they are isolated at home,” Felter said. “Many people are sitting at home with nothing to do, feeling scared and anxious. People are glad to be able to help fight this war.”
When Felter heard that LMH Health needed masks, she moved the hospital to the top of her list for donations. She credits LMH Health physicians for saving the life of a close family friend. After a six-day stay at the hospital, the young man, who did not have health insurance, benefited from LMH Health’s charitable care program. As a non-for-profit healthcare system, LMH Health provides more than $25 million in care each for patients who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise.
“We have this complete sense of gratitude and debt to LMH Health,” Felter said. “Not only was he healed, but this debt could have knocked him out of school and completely hijacked his future. LMH Health was truly able to give the gift of life to him.”
Austin Davis, owner of Tommy’s Express carwash in Lawrence, recently donated gloves, facemasks and sanitizing wipes to LMH Health. He is also offering free carwashes to healthcare workers, first responders and delivery personnel.
“I want to support our heroes on the front lines, including delivery drivers,” said Davis. “These individuals are selflessly putting themselves at risk for others.”
Davis shared a piece of advice for the Lawrence community: “Find a reason to smile and share that with someone else. We could all use something to smile about right now.”
Bryan Smith, a biochemist in Lawrence, created 10 liters of hand sanitizer using the World Health Organization’s guidelines and donated it to the hospital.
“My wife works at LMH Health, and I know there’s a need for supplies,” said Smith. “I wanted to help in any way that I could.”
Jeff and Mary Weinberg, longtime Lawrence community members, recently made a donation to the CARE Fund at LMH Health Foundation, which provides financial support to LMH Health employees during crisis situations. The Weinbergs also provided funds to purchase a new ventilator for the hospital.
“Our nonprofit community hospital is exceptional – we are fortunate to have access to such extraordinary medical care close to home,” Weinberg said. “My wife Mary and I believe that supporting LMH Health right now is critical.”
Weinberg expressed his gratitude for the physicians, nurses and many other critical healthcare workers at LMH Health.
“We hope that more community members will consider making a gift that will touch lives in ways beyond what was thought imaginable a few weeks ago,” said Weinberg. “Showing compassion for those in need is a gift that is in all of our hands to give.”
Courtney Bernard is a development coordinator for LMH Health Foundation.
How you can support LMH Health employees and patients
Make a financial gift
Here are two ways you can make an impact for those affected by COVID-19:
- Support LMH Health employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis by making a gift to the CARE Fund.
- Support LMH Health patients unable to pay for medication, equipment and other items by making a gift to the Help & Healing Fund.
How to make a gift to the LMH Health Foundation:
- Visit lmh.org/donate
- Call 785-505-5005
- Mail a check to LMH Health Foundation, 316 Maine St, Lawrence, KS 66044
Unified Command, the collaborative emergency response team that includes LMH Health, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Douglas County and the City of Lawrence, is accepting donations of supplies for COVID-19 at the United Way of Douglas County. Supplies can be dropped off between noon and 2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the southwest corner of the Community Building at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper Street.
To find out what items are needed and to learn about safety protocols, visit volunteerdouglascounty.org/donations. If you have questions about donations, you can call 2-1-1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for supporting your community hospital and clinics. Your generosity ensures that LMH Health can provide exceptional care for our families, neighbors and friends, which is more important now than ever before.