You Matter and We Care – How Blessing Bags Were Born


Two women smilingThe Emergency Department at St. Joseph Healthcare is often visited by people who could benefit from a kind gesture. Therefore, in 2021 the hospital’s Patient Access Advisory Group, which is chaired by Letishia Dill, an Inpatient Finance Counselor and co-chaired by, Stephanie Daigle, a patient access representative, worked with the group to launch the Blessing Bag Program.

Daigle shares, “We had group members who worked in the ED who noticed an influx of patients in need of basic necessities. Instinctively, they wanted to help, and the Blessing Bag Program was born.”

In each ED examination area, there is a poster that reads in part, “Please let a staff member know if you would like a Blessing Bag.” A bag typically includes items like body wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, lotion, lip balm and a snack. There’s also a list of local shelters that offer more resources. In the summer, the bags include sunscreen. In the winter, they include socks, a hat and gloves. The blessing bag also includes a message that reads in part, “Know that you matter, and we care.”

The program is primarily funded by St. Joseph’s Mission department. Employees also often donate items. Even community members may contribute through the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation. In 2022, 135 blessing bags were given to ED patients. In 2023, there continues to be a significant need.

Dill shares, “Often times when a blessing bag is given to a patient, their face lights up. They appreciate the thoughtfulness. It really is the little things that can make a big difference in someone’s day.”

Dill adds, “Our Mission is all about helping people in any way we can. Our patients are an extension of the St. Joseph’s family,” adds Daigle. “The items in the bag are important, but the referrals to other helpful resources are equally important.”

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