An Enriching Community Partnership

An Enriching Community Partnership

Our Legacies magazine is a special anniversary publication, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is one of our stories:

Mary enjoys working on an art project with friends from Medica

Hammer & NER has been so fortunate to have had a variety of Community Partners over the years. These are individuals and organizations that have been committed to supporting our mission and making both a financial and personal impact on those who call Hammer & NER home.

One such special organization is Medica. In 2012, Medica partnered with Hammer to provide Care Coordination for 300 of Medica’s Special Needs Basic Care Program members. Part of their mission was to get to know the people they served through this program. They began by volunteering at our Fall Yard Clean Up event. Medica employees enjoyed their experience so much that they asked to volunteer on a continual basis. That’s when Medica adopted our Hammer Day Support Program.

Renee Farrow led the first Medica team that came every other month and help our staff with a day of fun and community engagement. This became so popular that a second group of Medica employees, led by Sabrinna Berghorst, also began to volunteer. With the extra hands and hearts helping, everyone got to enjoy bowling outings, pizza and holiday parties, cookie baking, board games, and visits to the zoo!

Sabrinna, from Medica, with James

In 2019, Medica was recognized for their volunteerism with Hammer by receiving the Game Changer Award from the Corporate Volunteerism Council – Twin Cities. They received $1,000 and promptly gave the check to Hammer. It didn’t start there, however. In 2014, Medica granted Hammer $30,000 to begin our Healthy Living Initiative which is known today as our thriving Community Life department. Since 2019 they have contributed $21,000 to several projects related to the health of those we support. They have been incredible partners, giving $51,000 in total since we began the relationship 11 years ago. In recognition of all that they have done for Hammer & NER, Medica received our Community Partner Award in 2020.

When COVID-19 forced us to shut down our Day Support Program, Medica still found a way to offer support by donating over 10,000 masks for our staff and individuals to use. While the Medica volunteers couldn’t see their Hammer friends in person, they were able to use Facetime to stay in touch, cheer people up, and celebrate birthdays!

In 2022, Hammer & NER began the Cooks in the Kitchen program. Medica was one of the first organizations to raise their hand to participate in cooking meals for our homes that were short-staffed. To date Medica groups have volunteered in our Cooks in the Kitchen program 10 times, making 80 meals each time, adding up to 800 meals!

Medica volunteers doing Fall Yard Clean-Up at some of our homes

“The Medica Utilization Management team loves volunteering at Hammer because it impacts the people in our own community”, says Sabrinna Berghorst, Supervisor, Utilization Management Operations – Health Services at Medica. “We like knowing our neighbors are getting a warm meal. Cooks in the Kitchen hits close to home with one of the team members who has a nephew with Down syndrome. Knowing someday he may be helped by an organization like Hammer & NER makes her feel good, that in this small way, we are making a difference to those who care for the residents of the homes. We love Hammer!”

Medica’s partnership has had such a great impact on the individuals supported by Hammer & NER. Their volunteer efforts have allowed individuals to participate in community activities, elevating their spirits. Their financial support has secured health initiatives, including our Community Life program.

We look forward to our continued partnership with Medica as we begin our Second Century of service. Thank you Medica!

Cathy Thoma is Director of Volunteer Resources and joined Hammer Residences in 2014. Cathy helps volunteers find just the right fit for their skills and interests.

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