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Sentara RMH Medical Center employees choose Mercy House to receive $30K donation

Sentara RMH Medical Center has donated $30,000 to Mercy House of Harrisonburg.

The donation was made from the Sentara Cares program after hospital team members selected the nonprofit to receive the funds through an employee engagement survey.

“Sentara Health is both honored and humbled to support Mercy House for the work they do in the community,” Dr. Robert Garwood, chief medical officer for Sentara RMH, said. “We went to our staff and asked them: ‘what organization impacts the community in a positive way?’ and the overwhelming choice was Mercy House as the recipient of this award. It’s for the fine work they do, the positive impact they make in the community, and how they help our homeless population.”

Mercy House, established in 1988, serves the homeless population of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by providing 50 families each year with shelter and directing resources to more than 100 families each year.

“It’s overwhelming, and it is hugely difference making for our agency,” Shannon Porter, executive director of Mercy House, said. “We are really grateful for Sentara and the employees for selecting us. I think that may be one of the most gratifying parts of this process. We’re going to make good use of those funds and be good stewards of them. The fact that the employees of the hospital selected our organization and trust us with those resources is remarkable.”

Community support and contributions like Sentara’s make it possible for the nonprofit to make an impact with its shelter program and thrift stores.

“Thank you very much to Sentara RMH. The hospital is a very big part of our community and Sentara has been very good to many organizations in our community and we appreciate it,” Porter said.

Through the Sentara Cares program, Sentara strives to transform lives by focusing on the root factors that affect health beyond the clinical care Sentara provides.

“More and more we have to support other organizations and partner with them beyond just the funding that we give to them to really improve health in our community,” RMH Foundation Executive Director Cory Davies said.

Individuals must have a child or children in their legal care and able to verify homeless status to qualify for shelter through Mercy House. A centralized housing intake hotline is available at 540-271-1701. Donations are welcome for Mercy House online.

Employment opportunities are available to Mercy House residents at the nonprofits thrift stores, which sells donated items to community members in need at low or no cost to them.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.