At first glance it looks like a typical closet in a continuing care centre. What’s inside and the inspiration behind it makes Mary Anne’s Closet a heartwarming place.
Shirts, pyjamas, sweaters, blankets and toiletries fill the closet. Everything is clean and the toiletries are new. Healthcare Aide Mary Anne Irvine fills the shelves with things she knows will be needed by some of the residents at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital.
“I started doing this because some residents come to St. Joseph’s and don’t have everything they need. I help them a little bit until they have time for everything to get organized,” says Mary Anne.
Mary Anne started collecting items for residents about eight years ago. She takes care of gathering donations on her own.
“I do this for a lot of reasons. I want residents to look the best they can and receive the best care. Everyone should look good no matter what they have.”
Without Mary Anne’s Closet, residents who arrive without everything they need would have to wait for social workers to get paperwork in place in order to purchase the necessary items, which can take a few days. With the closet, Mary Anne can provide residents with what they need right away, enhancing their dignity and quality of life.
“I am proud of Mary Anne and appreciate the compassion she shows to our residents. The closet she maintains demonstrates she’s here for our residents’ comfort, and not just the job. Her compassion ripples out from her,” says Robin Gibson, Unit Manager.
Mary Anne, who has been a healthcare aide at St. Joseph's for 42 years, was recognized for her compassionate care with a Covenant Health Mission Award.
“She’s a pretty special lady," says Susan Nicoll, Program Manager. "We hope she never retires, and we’re not encouraging her to do so."