Noemi Mitzel is one of Hospice of the East Bay’s dedicated team of medical social workers. She believes that her first responsibility is to support her patients and their family’s wishes. She stays aware of any special concerns a family may have, be they financial, emotional or ethical, and finds solutions for them.
The 2014 holiday season was a particularly difficult time for one of Noemi’s patient families. Maria Uribe was living in Antioch with her adult daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Eduardo Garcia, and their three children, Evelyn (13), Emily (11), and Erik (8).
Eduardo had recently been laid off. To make ends meet he had taken a job with limited hours, until he could find something better. Noemi spoke numerous times with Elizabeth and found that she and her husband were concerned about being able to provide enough food and holiday gifts for their children.
When Hospice of the East Bay social workers like Noemi learn that a patient or family is struggling financially, they make a request to our Family Fund for assistance. Due to our generous donors, we are able to provide assistance to patient families with critical needs and limited financial resources. Our goal is to make it easier for families to spend as much quality, stress-free time together as possible. Since its inception the program has granted more than $50,000 in assistance. Examples of other requests that have been granted are payment of utility and telephone bills, providing caregivers and assistance with translation services at funerals.
After Noemi’s request was made, our Foundation staff was able to provide the family with gift cards to the stores they liked. In addition, they contacted Christmas for Everyone, a volunteer organization that serves people in need during the holiday season. Volunteers filled their bags with gifts that the children had asked for and delivered them in time for Christmas morning. “I was so worried that I didn’t have enough money for a Christmas meal or toys,” Elizabeth said. “I’m thankful the kids were able to have a Christmas.”
“I am so proud to be part of an organization that is truly committed to relieving pain and anxiety,” Noemi said, “whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual, practical or financial—even going as far as delivering food cards and coordinating holiday gifts to families who are unable to afford them.”
We are thankful to our social workers like Noemi and to our donors who make it possible for us to go the extra mile.