Heartland Hospice Serving Central Wisconsin interns, Lexi Reeves and Rachel Halbach, recently spearheaded a shoe and sock drive to benefit veteran families. In partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Heartland Hospice has achieved Level 4 We Honor Veterans (WHV) distinction. “In our efforts to achieve WHV Level 5, Rachel and I brainstormed ideas for a community event,” said Lexi, a University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP) health care administrative intern. “We reached out to the Veterans Service Office of Portage County in hopes they could connect us to opportunities, and they recommended the Salvation Army,” Lexi said.
Rachel, a UWSP social work intern, and Lexi linked the Heartland Hospice team with area senior living communities to raise 81 pairs of lightly used shoes and three bins of new socks. The Salvation Army centers in Wausau and Stevens Point will help distribute those items to veteran families who could benefit.
“Taking on a project like this has helped develop my leadership skills,” said Lexi. “It has also brought me comfort knowing that veterans in need will get shoes that can survive the summer!”
“It’s been great leading this project with Lexi,” Rachel said. “It has enabled me to build rapport with facilities that allowed us to place donation bins, and it gave me the chance to work on my social and leadership skills.”
On behalf of her team at Dimensions Living Stevens Point, resident services coordinator, Debra Footit, shared her pleasure in being asked to take part in the initiative. “This was such a blessing to participate in,” she said. “To know that our residents and families not only support each other but are also willing to help in the greater community is such a testament to their devotion to a better way of living."