“Our goal was to not only support them with material items, but to listen to them unconditionally and show them how much they are loved, show them they are valuable members in our society, full of dignity and grace” – Mary LaMartina, member of AACN
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
The members of the Western New York Chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) were given the opportunity to help Buffalo City Mission’s Cornerstone Manor Women and Children’s Shelter recently. After meeting with Cornerstone Manor staff to determine where their help would be most needed, the members of the group decided to collect personal hygiene items for the women staying at the facility. Packaged individually for each woman, the welcome bags are filled with items including a washcloth, toothbrush, razor and travel size toothpaste, soap, deodorant and shampoo. These “welcome bags” are a precious token for the women who arrive at Cornerstone Manor. The hygiene items refresh and restore the women, giving them hope and self-worth once again. The AACN members provided over 100 of these “welcome bags” and are now committed to providing urgent needs to Cornerstone Manor on an ongoing basis.
The AACN members also supplied fellowship for the women, giving the ladies an opportunity to share their stories in a permissive space. The group offered food and drink and an ear to listen, which developed into a monthly “Craft and Snack” between the women and the members of AACN. During the summer, the group threw a barbecue for the ladies to “kick-off” summer, providing all the food and beverage and fun games.
The AACN members wanted to also empower the women at Cornerstone Manor with knowledge that would help them get back on their feet and encourage productive habits. They enlisted a psychiatrist to speak to the women about addiction, abuse and emotional illness, providing resources and education on ways to deal with issues they may be coping with.
The members went beyond the needs of the residents, and after learning that all the staff at Cornerstone Manor was not CPR certified, they donated the money and time to get all the staff CPR certified.
The members of AACN say they are continuing to plan monthly volunteer visits, providing immediate tangible needs to the women and children and are also excited to continue to fellowship with the women while providing more educational opportunities in the future. The members quickly realized that Cornerstone Manor is not a place of sorrow, but as Mary LaMartina, member of AACN says, “It is a place of hope for the future, restoration of life and many, many people who had no knowledge of Christ or a faith they called their own who are receiving Christ in their hearts.” She adds, “That is absolutely priceless!”
The women and staff at Cornerstone Manor are so grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that have arisen through the partnership with AACN. In the words of LaMartina, she says “Our goal was to not only support them with material items, but to listen to them unconditionally and show them how much they are loved, show them they are valuable members in our society, full of dignity and grace. Every single month we visit them, I truly feel we are more blessed than they are” by this wonderful partnership.
Thank you to AACN for your lasting fellowship and caring hearts!