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Hospice responds to COVID-19 pandemic.

Everything seems strange these days with the COVID-19 pandemic closing schools and churches across the county. But some organizations just can't close down due to the nature of what they do. One such agency is Hospice Cleveland County (HCC).

"We still have to go on, because our patients need us," says Pam Sharts, HCC director of marketing and public relations.

The majority of HCC patients are in their own homes or in area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The organization also has two Hospice Houses, one in Shelby and the other in Kings Mountain. The Hospice Houses are both closed for visitors at this time.

"Our nursing staff is still going out in the community to care for our homecare patients, while social workers are providing support primarily by phone," says Sharts.

Likewise, all HCC volunteers have been asked to stay at home and not visit patients or participate in their usual volunteer group-gathering activities "We just want everyone to be safe," says Sharts.

When asked what community members can do to help HCC during this time, Sharts says that the agency is in need of staff to serve in service positions.

"We planned to have a career fair last week, but it had to be canceled," she says. Any qualified candidates are encouraged to look on the HCC website (www.HospiceCares.cc) and click on the "Career Opportunities" tab on the top left of the page. On that page there is a list of open positions. Candidates can apply through the website, and someone will call them to set up a phone interview.

Another need for the homecare patients and families is for canned goods and toilet paper.

"It's so frustrating right now, because we can't even go to the store and get toilet paper for our patients - all the stores are sold out right now," says Sharts.

Those who have food or toiletry items that they would like to donate should call 704-487-4677 Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

"When they call, they can arrange a time to drop off the donations, and we can have a cart outside where they can place them," says Sharts.

"We are also in need of face masks, so if there are any nail salons, hair dressers, tattoo places, or others that are willing to donate, we ask them to please call us and we will come and pick them up," Sharts says.

Another big concern is the HCC's annual Chicken Dinner & Dessert Sale fundraiser. Originally scheduled for April 3, 2020, the event has been postponed until the fall.

"We have called all of our sponsors, and luckily most of them are fine with transferring their sponsorship to the later date," says Sharts. "But we are really trying to get word out to those who bought a ticket to let them know to hang onto their tickets, which will be good at the event whenever it ends up being held."

Sharts says updates about the event, along with other services and needs of the HCC, will be posted on the agency's Facebook page, which can be accessed by searching for "Hospice Cleveland County" on Facebook.

"Those who don't have a Facebook account can go to the bottom right corner on our website, and there they will see a live feed of our Facebook page," says Sharts. "That's the best way to get up-to-the minute information about what's going on with Hospice Cleveland County."

Sharts says that although things are hectic right now with the changing situation, the staff of HCC wants the community to know that they are available to help.

"We want people to know we're here for them. And we ask people to be in prayer for our staff who are on the front lines taking care of patients and families,"says Sharts.

The main line for HCC is 704-487-4677. Sharts can be reached at 704-751-3573 or by emailing pam.sharts@hospicecares.cc.

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