During this past winter holiday season the workload remained high but the patient volume decreased. Perhaps people were out of town traveling, spending time with family members, or just avoiding commuting around town in the chilly weather. However, one particular winter day a small elderly woman found her way to our health center. The halls were quiet near the end of the day, and I was finishing up some loose ends before the Christmas weekend. I was stopped by a gentle knock on my door. She was near eighty but even with scarves and hat I could recognize her face. This time she was not stopping by to pick up medication or sign any applications. She had with her a letter and small box. She said, “I just wanted to wish you a Happy Holiday and thank you for helping me out.” She handed me the small box of chocolate covered animal crackers and a hand written thank you card.
I am not in this position for the “thank yous,” but for me that was a wonderful reminder of why I am working with the Philadelphia Health Corps. I feel very fortunate to have been the recipient of such a kind gift. It was a reminder that what this program does really matters. It was worth a very low-income elderly woman to travel across Philadelphia in the winter to deliver a thank you. What this program does is worth her spending the little disposable income she has on a way to say “thanks.” It has been a rewarding experience to be a part of an organization that seeks to care for those who may go uncared for. Each and every day offers its frustrations and challenges but it makes a difference.
-Chaz Shelton, Philadelphia Department of Public Health