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Hospice, United Way combine efforts

AHOSKIE – Hospice, over the years, has made great strides when it comes to a loving, caring end of life for terminally ill patients and providing emotional and spiritual support to families/caregivers.

Locally, Roanoke-Chowan Hospice – now a part of University Health Systems based out of Greenville – is among the best. Their success is traced to a team of dedicated employees/volunteers who are able to seek out the financial backing that keeps the doors open to this vital service.

Those finances just took a big shot in the arm.

Recently, the Albemarle Area United Way (AAUW) formally announced they had accepted Roanoke-Chowan Hospice as a new agency, a fact that bolsters the finances in which Hospice needs to continue providing services.

&uot;Roanoke-Chowan Hospice serves a third of our service area,&uot; Susan M. Hoskins, Executive Director of AAUW said. &uot;The services that Hospice provides are very important to the community, especially because of the cost of health care.&uot;

AAUW is based in Elizabeth City. The organization serves nine counties – Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Tyrrell. By adding R-C Hospice, the counties of Bertie and Northampton are now included in the AAUW service area.

The news was welcomed on the local front.

&uot;This is a win-win situation for us,&uot; Tra Perry, Volunteer Coordinator of University Hospice said. &uot;The money designated through United Way for our agency comes directly to Hospice. In addition, as an AAUW member agency, we will also receive undesignated funds.&uot;

Hoskins explained that an AAUW committee meets to discuss the needs of the member and non-member agencies. They recommend the amount of financial assistance United Way forwards in undesignated funds to those agencies.

AAUW is no stranger to the Roanoke-Chowan area. They support local organizations such as Roanoke-Chowan SAFE, the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts, Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Food Bank of the Albemarle, which is linked with the Ahoskie Food Bank.

United Way was also a major player in the disaster relief and recovery following Hurricane Isabel.

In 2004, AAUW dispersed a total of $291,588. Of that amount, $275,923 went to member agencies.

&uot;Our partnership with Hospice will hopefully allow the citizens of the Roanoke-Chowan area to become familiar with United Way,&uot; Hoskins said. &uot;We may even look at sponsoring other agencies in this area.&uot;

Meanwhile, Hoskins said AAUW would solicit corporate and individual sponsorships from the R-C area as well as seeking members for its appropriations committee. Those interested can contact AAUW at (252) 333-1510 or AAUW@earthlink.net.

University/Roanoke-Chowan Hospice provides a special way of caring for the terminally ill patient, at home, and their families and strives to meet all of the patients needs – physical and emotional, social and spiritual.

All Hospice services are available to any terminally ill person and his/her family in Bertie, Gates, Hertford or Northampton counties without regard to race, handicap, color, age, native origin, sex or creed.

Hospice staff and volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information on Hospice, call 332-3392. Their office is located at 521 West Myers Street, across from Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.