Grant allows patients to go home with dignity

Bayhealth Medical Center, Inc., received a grant from the Walmart Distribution Center in Smyrna to cover the cost of much needed clothing items for hospital patients. From left, are Mary Ann Sapp, Walmart Distribution Center HR manager; Jason Blankenship, Walmart Distribution Center operations manager; Tom Spillers, Walmart Distribution Center general manager; Sherry Chandler, Walmart Distribution Center, assistant to the general manager; Kim Allen, Walmart Distribution Center Breakpack area manager; Jane Hewitt, Bayhealth lead patient advocate; Megan Johnson, Walmart Distribution Center warehouse receiving employee; and Esther Curtis, Bayhealth Development associate. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Bayhealth Medical Center Inc. received a $2,500 grant from the Walmart Distribution Center in Smyrna, Delaware to pay for much needed clothing and other items to stock its Clothing Closet.

Lead Patient Advocate Jane Hewitt explained that the Clothing Closet at Bayhealth provides new sweatpants, sweatshirts and T-shirts to needy patients upon their discharge. She said without the Clothing Closet, the only option would be to send patients home in a hospital gown.

Each year as many as 400 patients benefit from the Clothing Closet at Bayhealth’s emergency departments in Dover, Milford, and Smyrna. Hewitt said the grant was enough to fully stock the Clothing Closet and has allowed the installation of a mini clothing closet in the Emergency Department for quick access.

The Walmart grant will help to keep the closet stocked for a while. “I purchased 40 more sets of pants and shirts, and we should be able to buy more clothing for a good part of the year with the grant,” Ms. Hewitt said. “Proper clothing allows a patient to be discharged with dignity.”

Tom Spillers, general manager of the Smyrna Walmart Distribution Center, said he is happy to support the community. “We play a huge part in the community and want to be a good neighbor by showing our support,” he said. “We are always happy to contribute to anything that will go towards a healthy, safe, and happy community.”

Donations from staff and the community also keep the closet stocked. “The demand is becoming greater and greater as our community grows,” Ms. Hewitt said. “The grant from Walmart allowed us to fill in the gap when our donations ran low.”

Clothing donation boxes can be found outside the chapels at both Bayhealth Milford Memorial and Kent General. Bayhealth can only accept donations of new, unused clothing. For more information, call Lead Patient Advocate Jane Hewitt at 744-7085.

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