Faith community joins to support hospice center
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 9, 2013 1:46 PM
As pastor of Goldsboro Worship Center, Danny Johnson has appreciated the helping hands Kitty Askins Hospice Center has provided for parishioners and their families over the years.
"There's not been a time that we have met with a family before, during and after the deceased (passed) that they have not raved about Kitty Askins and how special the relationship was, the care that they gave," he said. "From a pastor's point of view, to have that conjunction of care, it does make it easier on pastors, ministers, that they're in good hands, they're being cared for."
Kitty Askins and 3HC, Home Health and Hospice, offer more than acute care for those in the final stages of life. President Dean Lee said the center is also there for respite care -- staying at the center up to five days before returning home -- as well as residential, or at-home, care.
Mildred Ross experienced the latter. In mid-July 2008, assigned staff came to her home to assist in caring for her husband, who died that Aug. 5.
"It's a strong community support on-site and in the home," she said. "Everyone that came in were absolutely wonderful, to the point where the atmosphere was peaceful."
Johnson and Mrs. Ross, who attends Central Heights Free Will Baptist Church, are now members of the Community Faith Initiative Committee, created to make area churches more aware of the services Kitty Askins provides and to enlist support from the faith community.
The five-member group -- which also includes Chairman Jeremy White, Goldsboro campus pastor of The Bridge Church, Kitty Askins Chaplain Paula Griffin and pastor Allen Stocks, of Tanglewood Church of God in Kinston -- was formed in February and recently had a five-minute video produced about the hospice program.
"What they have done has been great," said April Brantham, Kitty and 3HC community development coordinator. "I wasn't expecting them to be able to put as much time and effort into it as they have, with pastors being as busy as they are.
"But they all have such a heart for Kitty Askins because they have had families and friends and members of their congregation come through Kitty that it touches them and they have done a great job of sharing."
The hospice center has benefited greatly from volunteers and donations over the years, Ms. Brantham said.
"We have churches who bring in basically a good old Sunday potluck on any day of the week," Mrs. Griffin said. "It provides the families a break. They don't have to worry about going out and buying a meal."
Youth groups have also kept the center's kitchen stocked with snacks, while area businesses have pitched in to make sure there are provisions to celebrate every holiday.
There are many ways to volunteer and to support the endeavor, White said, and with the abundance of churches in the surrounding area, the wealth of opportunities can be shared.
"I feel like Kitty Askins and 3HC, this organization brings the community together, especially during some of the most difficult times in people's lives," he said. "The Faith Initiative, I think it's bringing churches together as well, for us to just work together and communicate and how we can support one another."
Another project churches are encouraged to get behind is a $200,000 naming opportunity for the tower at the center entrance.
"We're trying to get all the churches in Wayne, Lenoir and Wilson counties to name the tower," Ms. Brantham said. "That idea was kind of born from the Mount Olive churches getting together and naming the chapel at Kitty Askins. They needed $100,000. They raised $130,000."
The tower by the water fountain was chosen for its significance to those brought in for care.
"It's what the ambulances drive under when they bring patients to the center," Ms. Brantham said. "One of the things we want to do is have something engraved at the top of the tower. When the patients get out they're lying on a stretcher looking up. We want them to be able to read it."
The quote reflects the mission of the center -- "May Kitty Askins Hospice Center be a place where all who enter find rest for their bodies, relief for their minds and peace for their souls."
Churches interested in joining the committee are invited to do so, Ms. Brantham said. For more information, call 919-735-1387, ext. 1072, or visit the 3HC Facebook page.