What’s in Leticia’s Closet? Clothes for Renown Patients Who Need Them
The clothes in Leticia’s Closet at Renown Regional Medical Center go to patients who may need them when leaving the hospital. In the past year, several Renown Health employee groups have banded together to donate clothes for this special service to patients. Here’s how to help.
It’s a modest closet — actually, two modest closets — tucked away in one of the earliest-built areas of Renown Regional Medical Center. Inside, though, is a vital service for Renown patients who may need it: Leticia’s Closet.
Named for a former patient who did not have family in the Reno area and needed clothing after she was treated at Renown Regional, Leticia’s Closet has been in operation for more than a decade. It’s used around 10-12 times a week, as care units call the Volunteer Services department with requests.
Several groups of employees over the past year have worked to replenish this supply of clothes of all varieties, stored to help patients who may need clothes when it’s time to leave the hospital.
There are several reasons why a patient may need an item from Leticia’s Closet. Maybe there was an emergency for a patient without family in the area and there’s no way for them to receive clothes between admission and discharge. Maybe it is a homeless person, perhaps someone who did not have adequate shoes when they were admitted. Or, as in one recent example, it could be a young mother whose water broke while at the hospital and needed the extra clothes immediately while receiving care or before leaving the hospital.
Getting Together to Help Out
At times, clothes have been in short supply at Leticia’s Closet due to its consistent use. That’s where employees have pitched in. This summer, teams of employees from Renown’s Financial Boulevard office volunteered to collect new clothes for Leticia’s Closet.
Michelle Trabert was leading the office’s employee committee efforts at the time. Trabert, who works with imaging authorizations for patients, was working with the group to find a suitable activity for Renown Pride Day, an event that encourages fun as well as community involvement every last Wednesday of a month. She saw an entry about Leticia’s Closet on Renown’s intranet site and asked Meghan Meagher, director of Volunteer Services, about it.
“I just thought, ‘Wow, we give back to Renown and to the community at the same time,’ because they are both hand-in-hand,” Trabert says.
At that point, it was DIY in action. Trabert publicized the drive at the office and she got a tremendous response. “I’m telling you, in one month we raised 100 pairs of underwear, socks, shoes, all types of clothing,” she says, adding that this giving spirit is indicative of her co-workers. “We have at least 50 to 100 people who give for every drive we have, every single time. This is the most giving group of people I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Clothing Donations Continue
The giving spirit of employees was further fostered during another Leticia’s Closet drive that took place in September. It was staged at The Shops at Renown, the group of stores and dining at Renown Regional’s campus. Clothing drives on different weeks — one for adults, one for children — took place at three stores — The Boutique, The Lactation Connection and The Logo Shop — and the response was amazing: more than 700 pieces of clothing were donated.
Melissa Campsey-Cook, manager of The Shops at Renown, said the drives started when Shops leaders were talking with Volunteer Services leaders about needs for the closet, specifically a need for men’s clothing items. “That started the conversation between us, and then as we were talking about we thought, ‘Let’s just do a drive for it and then offer a discount for people if they bringing in clothing to donate.’”
Campsey-Cook says she was surprised at the amount of clothing that was raised — and that employees were still donating well after the drives ended. She’s happy that the employees at The Shops could also get involved.
“We want to be part of the whole health system instead of just being a place for people to shop,” she says. “We like to give back and try to always do things to help the community, so we met that goal as well.”
There is still a need for clothing for Leticia’s Closet, and there are also similar closets at Renown South Meadows Medical Center and Renown Skilled Nursing. Current needs include men’s pants, men’s and women’s warm clothing such as sweatshirts and jackets, and new men’s and women’s underwear. To learn how you can donate, call Volunteer Services at 775-982-4755.
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