b'SPECIAL EDITION 202029Helping Hands FundSometimes the helpers need help, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thats where the Concord Hospital Trust Employees Helping Hands Fund stepped in.The fund was established in 2006 to help Hospital employees experiencing an unforeseen financial crisis, such as a health emergency or death in the family, or expensive, unanticipated home repairs.COVID-19 quickly put many employees under financial stress, so the Hospital revamped the Helping Hands Fund to quickly respond. The effort got a big boost with significant contributions from members of the Concord Hospital Board, the Concord Hospital Trust Board, senior management and the medical staff. Their support, combined with donations from the community, totaled more than $167,000 between March 1 and late July 31.Employees have seen hours reduced or are on furlough or have family members who have been affected by reduced hours, said Concord Hospital Chief Human Resources Officer Patrick Boyle. The income they are used to no longer exists, at least during this period.With that in mind, the application process was streamlined through the Hospitals internal communications network. Applications are reviewed promptly, with no identifying information attached, to help employees with COVID-related issues like making rent or utility payments or buying groceries or gas. During the first three weeks of the new procedure, 26 employees received financial help.In one case, employees put in a request for a teammate who was in the Hospital with COVID-19, Boyle said. They knew she was a single parent, so they put in a request on her behalf. Its good to know our teammates are looking out for each other.At least two grateful employees who were granted assistance reported they no longer needed the help and requested the funds be used for others still in need.It would seem that now, more than ever, this Fund is needed, as is our support for it, Hospital President and CEO Robert Steigmeyer wrote to the Hospital staff. He said contributions that supercharged the Fund are helping the Hospital respond immediately and make a meaningful difference in the lives our staff at a time when so much seems beyond our control.'