Medical Mission at Home, an impactful and humbling day of service

To the Editor:

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ —Matthew 25:34-40.

On Sunday, November 4, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, a member of Ascension, held its third annual Medical Mission at Home at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport. You may be familiar with the term “medical mission,” when volunteer caregivers travel to other countries to provide medical services. We know that right here in our community, people are not accessing medical care because they are homeless, uninsured, and for a number of other reasons.

St. Vincent’s is committed to providing healthcare to all, with special attention to those who are struggling. Our Medical Mission at Home — presented by St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation and staffed entirely by volunteer medical staff and associates — is designed to deliver healthcare, social and support services to our neighbors in need right here in our own community.

Thanks to more than 400 volunteers, our third Medical Mission at Home was an impactful and humbling day of service that reminded all of us of our shared humanity. Hundreds of Bridgeport’s most vulnerable residents were able to come in from the cold for much-needed medical attention and personalized, compassionate care.

Beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until 3 p.m., volunteers offered medical care, foot washing and podiatry services, nutrition, physical therapy, smoking cessation, spiritual care, behavioral health and social services, mammograms, vaccinations and flu shots, reader eyeglasses, and haircuts. Thanks to the generosity of our Women at Heart donors, we were able to provide cardiovascular screening. Everyone attending received a meal and children five to 10 years old enjoyed a supervised play area. All services were offered free and no insurance was required.

Each person was invited to take home a warm coat, socks, and new shoes. St. Vincent’s associates organized collection drives, ensuring that everyone had a bag of toiletry supplies and a warm blanket. Members of our prayer shawl ministry — some as young as 99 years of age! — hand-knit children’s scarves, hats and mittens to give to children who were present. We are grateful to the many Foundation donors who make this Mission possible each year.

We were joined by many community collaborators who provided information and community resource materials, including: 2-1-1 United Way; Access Health CT; Bridgeport Dept. of Health; Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative; Dispensary of Hope; Get Healthy CT; Life Bridge HIV Services; New England Donor Services (Organ Donation); Regional Mental Health Board; Southwest Community Health Center; Southwestern CT Agency on Aging and The Workplace. In addition, we received materials for distribution from Center for Family Justice, Council of Churches, and CT Food Bank.

We are thankful to the City of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Department of Health for partnering with us to get the word out, and to the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority for providing signage on all busses — ensuring that as many people as possible could be notified about the services available at the Medical Mission at Home.

The associates and medical staff at St. Vincent’s are privileged to serve the greater Bridgeport community and honor the mission that the Daughters of Charity committed to when they traveled to Bridgeport to found St. Vincent’s Hospital more than 114 years ago. We are committed to remain in service to the greater Bridgeport community for many, many years in the future. Our dedication to helping those who are most in need is unwavering — and our Medical Mission at Home enables us to positively impact the lives of so many who are struggling in our beloved community.

Dianne J. Auger

President & CEO, St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation

SVP, Chief Strategy Officer, St. Vincent’s Medical Center