SVHC Donates Harvest Ball Proceeds to Hurricane Relief

29 Sept. 2011
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson 802-447-5003

BENNINGTON — Hurricane relief efforts in Southwestern Vermont will get a $50,000 shot in the arm thanks to a donation of the proceeds from Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s annual Harvest Ball. The proceeds had been designated for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. However, the health system’s leaders decided to use the funds to help communities in Bennington and Windham counties savaged by Hurricane Irene in late August.

“Hurricane Irene was the most devastating event our area has seen in many years,” said Thomas Dee, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care. “Donating the proceeds from the Harvest Ball is one way that we can directly help the people in our communities recover.”

The health system is dividing the roughly $50,000 the event generated among six organizations in the greater Bennington and Deerfield Valley areas. The health system focused its donations on providing direct benefit to individuals or businesses hit hard by Irene. In Bennington County, SVHC has committed $10,000 to the Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services, and an additional $7,500 to BROC Community Action. In the Northshire, $7,500 will go to the emergency needs fund of the Interfaith Council of the Northshire.

In Windham County, SVHC donated $10,000 to the Deerfield Valley Rotary Fund, $9,000 to the Deerfield River Valley Human Web, and $6,000 to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry, all non-profit organizations.

“Our health system itself was touched by this event,” Dee explained. “Many of our employees lost possessions and sustained serious damage to their homes. We reached out to assist them immediately after the storm with clothing, supplies to help them clean up their homes, and the availability of interest-free loans to help them begin the cleanup. These donations are one more way we can help the communities we serve.”

In addition, SVHC responded to the crisis by supporting emergency response agencies throughout its service area. In Bennington, SVMC staff opened the hospital’s supply stockpiles. The hospital sent more than 100 cots for the Red Cross shelter set up at Mount Anthony Middle School. In Manchester, SVMC stood ready to open its Northshire Campus for urgent care or to assist rescue personnel.

In the Deerfield Valley, SVMC extended the hours of the Deerfield Valley Campus and opened it on the weekend. Various members of SVHC’s medical staff volunteered to provide additional doctors in the crucial days following the disaster. The hospital also provided supplies and assistance to the town of Wilmington and the shelter, and worked closely with Vermont Emergency Management to help assess need and coordinate relief for the Deerfield Valley.

“I want to personally thank the physicians, nurses, and employees throughout SVHC who came in early, stayed late and worked on their days off to make sure our communities had access to high-quality health care during this disaster,” Dee said. “At a time of great disagreement about the future of health care in our state, it’s important to remember that Vermont’s hospitals are on the front lines of providing care during a disaster and responding to the needs of our communities.”

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is a non-profit, integrated health system serving communities in Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties in New York. SVHC is made up of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, the VNA and Hospice of SVHC, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, the SVMC Northshire and Deerfield Valley Campuses, and Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. SVHC is home to the region's only breast care program fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. For more information about SVHC visit svhealthcare.org.

--30--