In the shadow of one of the foremost tourist attractions in the USA and Canada poverty is growing daily among the families at the Mount St. Mary’s Neighborhood Health Center in Niagara Falls, NY. It’s not confined to a neighborhood, race or family structure. It is increasing in the working poor, grandparents caring for their grandchildren, and single parents.
The international site of the Daughters of Charity features the little heralded work of the Daughters.
“Each person is greeted by several receptionists who begin the process of assisting with their paper work and then patients are seen either by one of our Primary Doctors or another health care professional.
The Neighborhood Health Center is not only just a clinic, but a place where we go beyond just health services. There are stories of being homeless, living without electricity, no fuel, no food, no diapers, no insurance, and the lists can go on and on. These and similar comments are heard daily by our Social Worker.
A woman named Irene, a patient at the center, came to her recently. She said, “Sister, I have an extra twenty dollars that I would like to give to you for a needy person. I was homeless for many years and truly know what it means to be homeless.” Now, Irene had been the victim of domestic violence, experienced severe health issues, and came to the Neighborhood Health Center on a regular basis. Each month Irene received $700 in a disability benefit. She paid $500 for rent, heat, personal items and food. She was left with a few dollars each month and felt the need to help others who were in need during the year! She continued, “Because I was homeless for years and can help others”. Though Irene did not have much she knew helping others meant more then anything else in the world. One month ago, Irene died and will always be remembered for what she shared.
Keisha’s Prayer – LONGING TO SIT UPRIGHT
I thank you, Father God, for sending so many people to help me. From birth you gave me legs that don’t work, an arm no more use to me than a wing. I’ve been between bed and chair for 37 years and now my wheel chair is broke. What I’m longing for is a chair, Father God. I got more of the dignity you gave me in a chair than in this bed. In the chair I can go downstairs and even outside. This sister will do the paperwork but they tell me the co-pay is $400 dollars; Medicare don’t pay for all of it anymore. Father God, I might as well need four million dollars for the chance I’d have to save $400. God, send me a chair, could you please. I’m afraid of bedsores without a chair. Thank you for looking out for me.
Keisha is a 37 year old woman with cerebral palsy and today she has a new chair that enables her to ride to the store and doctor’s appointments.
Thank you for allowing me to introduce you to a few of our friends at the Neighborhood Health Center.
For up close and personal pictures visit the Daughters of Charity site.