An anonymous donation to The Sampson Independent has placed free newspapers in the hands of new mothers, hospital patients and nursing home residents, a new outreach program incredibly well-received since it began earlier this month.
Through the Community Subscription Outreach Program, 40 papers are delivered each day to Sampson Regional Medical Center, Southwood Nursing Center and Southeastern Medical Oncology Center’s cancer patients.
Judy Naylor, director of Volunteer Services at Sampson Regional Medical Center, said volunteers are overseeing and coordinating daily delivery of these papers. They make their rounds through patient rooms and offer a newspaper to patients who are feeling well enough to read or to their family members.
They deliver a couple to each waiting area, including the surgical waiting area, the family waiting room on the Medical/Surgical Unit and Intensive Care.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Once we have delivered to the waiting areas, we make sure each new mother will have a complimentary newspaper wrapped in yellow ribbons with a decorative tag reading ‘What happened in the news on the day you were born?’ It is always a hit with new moms and something to tuck away as a keepsake for their baby book,” said Naylor.
Amber Cava, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for SRMC, recently wrote a letter to the “Generous Donor,” detailing the hospital’s “deepest gratitude for your kind gesture.”
Cava said newspapers are set aside for any babies born since midnight or expected to deliver by the end of the day so parents can have a keepsake. An average of 8-10 babies are born each week at the hospital, Cava noted, “and the newspapers are a new special touch for us to help them celebrate new life.”
One day, the nursing staff requested Naylor take a newspaper to a family member who had been in the hospital with her husband for more than a week. Naylor relayed that on the second day, the patient turned to the volunteer delivering the paper and told her, “Honey, you will never know how much I enjoy getting this newspaper; I think I have read every magazine up here.”
“I feel like I am connected to the outside even if I haven’t been out in more than a week,” she told the volunteer, before thanking her and giving her a big hug.
“For those patients who are alert and oriented to enjoy a paper, or for their visitors who would like a copy, we are so pleased to provide a complimentary paper to them,” Cava offered. “We share that a special donor cared for them to have a copy. Our volunteers feel so rewarded when they can go above and beyond with gestures like this to make our patients feel special.”
Naylor said the recipients most frequently ask who provided the service so they can thank them. The volunteers answer that the donation was given in anonymity, but given for them to enjoy.
“Our initial donor, who has asked not to be identified, is helping make this possible, and we are forever grateful for their generosity,” said Sampson Independent Publisher Sherry Matthews. “And we continue to look for other donors so we can continue the program which, we believe, is beneficial to the recipients in many ways, keeping them in contact with what goes on in their community.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.