April 12, 2023

Martha’s Cupboard Provides Hygiene Kits to Hospice Patients in Need

Martha's Cupboard volunteers

Caring for a loved one can put financial stress on a family. Although hospice and palliative care medical costs and supplies are covered through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, daily expenses such as food and personal hygiene supplies can add up, especially if the full-time caregiver is not able to work.

Heartlinks Medical Social Worker Esmeralda Lopez recently connected with Martha’s Cupboard, a ministry of Central Church in Richland, to pick up a donation of hygiene supplies for her 99-year-old hospice patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.

“After conversing with the patient’s daughter-in-law, who is the primary caretaker, about my role for support and resources, we discussed the patient’s home situation and realized they are on a limited income,” says Esmeralda.

Esmeralda says her role as a MSW is to look at the resources and support systems in place for each patient, using a whole-family approach.

“If a family or the caretaker is struggling it will directly impact the care of our patient,” she says. “These kits relieve a small burden from their financial load as well as provide them with a resource.”

Julie McDonald is the interim director for Martha’s Cupboard. She says the ministry has served the Tri-Cities since 2002 primarily working with other agencies that serve people in need of basic personal care items, cleaning supplies and other necessities that cannot be obtained any other way. Julie says food stamps do not cover the cost of these needs, so they become difficult to obtain when the family is in a critical situation, such as caring for a loved one with a terminal illness.

Martha’s Cupboard collects household items and builds small and large hygiene kits including all-purpose cleaners, bar soap, body lotion, deodorant, dish soap, tissues, laundry detergent, paper towels, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene products. Each large kit provides enough for a family of four for one month.

“All credit goes to Martha’s Cupboard and their volunteers,” says Esmeralda, “Because of their commitment to community service we are also able to meet these additional needs. I have this extra resource in my tool kit. I can share with patients and families that there are resources available if needed, and if they are open to it, we can tap into them.”

Esmeralda says this patient’s family expressed gratitude for the hygiene kit, stating, “Anything is a huge help.”

Martha’s cupboard distributes 4,000 to 5,000 hygiene kits each year. Julie says the volunteers at Martha’s Cupboard are serving Christ and being Christ-like while they receive donations, package kits and distribute them, usually from 10 a.m. to Noon on Wednesdays.

“Those two hours are life-giving and life-receiving,” she says. “God is making it all happen.”

If you wish to donate personal care products or money to this community resource you may drop them off during church business hours or mail a check with “Martha’s Cupboard” in the memo to Central Church, Attn: Martha’s Cupboard, 1124 Steven’s Drive, Richland WA 99354.

For more information about Martha’s Cupboard, call Central Church at 509-943-1143.

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