Auxiliary has served patients since 1952

Submitted photo/ESHC
Corporal John Marine, Financial Officer Dorchester Lodge #223 IBPO Elks of the World awards $2,500 check to ESHC CEO, Dr. Forrest Daniels and Volunteer Services Coordinator Jeanne Bromwell.

CAMBRIDGE — The ESHC Auxiliary was chartered in 1952. “We join other local organizations attempting to maintain status quo making our way through COVID-19,” a statement from the group said. “Never in our 68-year history have we witnessed or experienced anything close to the current pandemic.”

The Mission of the ESHC Auxiliary is to offer volunteer and financial assistance to hospitalized mentally ill patients who often have little or no support outside of the facility. A major goal is to reduce the stigma attached to individuals diagnosed with mental illness.

“The world may have slowed down its spinning but we continue our efforts to host therapeutic activities and raise funds for the patients at the Eastern Shore Hospital Center in Cambridge,” the statement said. “A quote from Coretta Scott King comes to mind when looking back on the last six months: ‘The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.’”
In February, through a community grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and through our local Dorchester Center for the Arts, the Auxiliary hosted Guest Art Instructor, Chris Carter for a two-day class on Multi Media pieces entitled Notes & Quotes. An exhibit of these 18 works of art by ESHC patients is now installed in the O’Conor Building in Baltimore in the Maryland Department of Health-Secretary Neall’s Reception Area. The pieces are for sale and proceeds go directly in the individual patient/artist’s account.
March blew in but did not stop the beginning installation of our new Shaded Roof on an existing Café courtyard Pavilion on our Treatment Mall. Donated funds were used to provide this shaded area allowing our patients with contraindications from sunlight to also enjoy outdoor activities.

April was a very busy month for everyone, and made all of us especially aware of the rapid spread of COVID. In response, the Auxiliary donated personal funds for Volunteer Services to purchase several meals for staff so they could remain on campus and decrease exposure to the virus and the possible spread to other staff, everyone’s family members and the hospital’s 80 patients.
The ESHC Auxiliary also purchased 1,000 comfortable T-shirt fabric face masks for our patients. The Maryland Department of Health has a new COVID safety program – Masks on Maryland encourage the wearing of protective masks. ESHC Administrative staff welcomed a visit by Senator Addie Eckardt. The Senator participated in COVID-19 screening process, visited the Quarantine Unit prepared by the Incident Command team and discussed ESHC’s COVID policies and procedures.

During May, local community volunteers, staff and family members of ESHC staff made over 3,500 masks and donated them to the Medical Services Department to utilize as needed. Auxiliary members are working with Katie Hurley, DCA Visual Arts Coordinator to have an October COVID-19 Face Mask display at the Dorchester Center for the Arts.
As an Art Therapy project, patients have hand-painted clothes pins for this display. There will be 50 masks in celebration of the DCA’s 50th anniversary.

In June, the Auxiliary purchased and displayed a Heroes Work Here banner at the entrance to the ESHC as a thank you to staff. Hand sanitizer and extra masks were added to patients’ “Off to a Great Start” discharge totes to encourage safe practices upon discharge. Since, February, the Auxiliary has distributed 16 totes, 12 duffel bags and clothing for 40 patient discharges and 39 new patient admissions.
In July, as a safety precaution, patients remained on their separate units. There was no access to snack machines. In response, the Auxiliary funded a patient ‘Munch Mobile’ containing drinks and snacks – these are delivered to the individual units once a week. A monthly ‘First Friday’ Patient Pizza party now encourages the wearing of masks.
In August, COVID-19 forced the postponement of the 17th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Wellness Race & Family Walk and the Annual Fashion Show and Holiday Gift Bazaar.

Through a creative partnership with Emily’s Produce, the Auxiliary will present ‘Fashions on the Farm’ on Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tables will be sparkling with fabulous gift items for your early holiday shopping pleasure, a statement from the hospital said.
Auxiliary members will be selling items from their A. May Thompson Shop including New Jewelry, New Gift Items, and some very thoughtfully selected Nearly-New fashions that would have been featured in its 2020 Fashion Show. Emily’s will offer a lunch special that may be pre-ordered on-line.
In tandem with bluecheetah sports timing, the Great Chesapeake Bay Race, Run & Walk will now be held as an “ANYWHERE” virtual event. During Thanksgiving Week – Nov. 21-27, registrants may choose to participate in a timed 10K run or a 5K or 1 Mile walk. Our theme for the week-long event is “Reduce the Stigma – Be Thankful for Your Mental Health.”
Local Dorchester Lodge #223 IBPO Elks of the World is our Major Sponsor; Different Drummer Farm – Sharon Borg Wall is our Start/Finish Line sponsor. So far, event sponsors include the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, Dorchester Garden Club, Dr. Evangeline Garcia, Dr. & Mrs. William Potter, WINGS – Grace United Methodist Church, George & Marie Vickers, Dr. M. William Feder and Hurlock Lions Club.

For more information on the above activities and events, please contact Judy Slaughter, Director -ESHC Volunteer Services – – (410) 221-2358; or Jeanne Bromwell, Coordinator – ESHC Volunteer Services – – (410) 221-2357.