Ozarks Healthcare Encourages Community to Safely Give Back and Gift Forward this Holiday Season
For many, the holiday season is a time to gather and celebrate the spirit of togetherness. From family gatherings to community festivities, the holidays inspire many to honor the spirit of giving and offer time, resources, and help in numbers for those in need. While these traditional gatherings may not be possible this year due to COVID-19, donating to local organizations whose efforts are focused on bettering the lives of those facing health struggles is a safe way to give back and spread good will, especially this holiday season.
Donating to Community Organizations
Ozarks Healthcare officials encourage community members in its service area of South-Central Missouri and North Arkansas who want to make a difference during the holidays to consider making a donation to any of several organizations who “gift forward” to those in need through the health system.
“We utilize donations from local organizations as soon as we welcome a newborn in our facility,” Tonya Aaron, Ozarks Healthcare OB-GYN Manager, said. “We are fortunate to receive newborn necessities from organizations who kindly make donations for new mothers needing help getting started with parenthood. These organizations make a difference in the lives of many new parents in our region and depend on community support to keep efforts alive.”
One local charitable group who particularly helps with such donations is the Infant-Child Committee of the Community Interagency Council, which annually provides 100 boxes of baby items to be distributed to babies in need through Ozarks Healthcare and other agencies, including the Howell County Health Department, Samaritan Outreach Center, Division of Family Services, Christos House, and others. Donations collected through the council help fund baby “layettes” or boxes filled with blankets, outfits, socks, hats, soap, diapers, wipes, bottles, and more. Donations are typically gathered from a community event referred to as the Callie Ann Community Wide Baby Shower. With the onset of COVID-19 and limits on gatherings, committee organizer Barbara Caton said monetary donations are especially appreciated this holiday season.
“People who donate to our council show true selflessness,” Caton said. “Donations made to our organization go further than helping provide newborns with necessities. They also offer hope to their parents.”
Donations made through the Infant-Child Committee of the Community Interagency Council are used for some of the 600 infants born approximately each year at Ozarks Healthcare. The medical system expects its annual number of deliveries to increase after opening its new Women’s Center featuring 20,000 square feet of new labor and delivery rooms, gynecological surgery facilities, and educational spaces.
Inquiries about donating to the Infant-Child Committee of the Community Interagency Council may be directed to Caton via email at BarbaraCaton@MissouriState.edu or by phone at 417-255-7251.
Other local organizations who help with the needs of Ozarks Healthcare patients needing mental health support and extra housing resources include Ozark Action, Inc., the Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center, and Salutes.
“Our patients who suffer from varying severities of mental health disorders sometimes need extra assistance with managing several factors, including costs of living,” Richard McGee, Ozarks Healthcare Director of Behavioral Health Center, said. “The struggles these patients face around the holidays can especially intensify. With the help of local organizations and community donations that support them, we are able to offer more avenues of aid to help ease the burdens our patients sometimes carry.”
Ozark Action, Inc., provides home heating and weatherization assistance for individuals and families in Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Texas, and Wright Counties who meet program criteria. These services are often in high demand and can be difficult to arrange around the holiday season. The Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and food pantry. Salutes is a shelter for veterans and offers housing, clothing, food, and more. For inquiries about donations to these organizations, the following phone numbers can be used:
• Ozark Action, Inc.: 417-256-6147
• Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center: 417-257-7792
• Salutes: 417- 861-6967
Donating to Your Local Healthcare System
Ozarks Healthcare also accepts direct donations to help fund its health system through its foundation. Ozarks Healthcare’s foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization governed by a board of local community members. Donations collected through the foundation include the development and use of funds for:
• New medical technology and equipment
• Community wellness, prevention, and other out-of-hospital services to promote quality of life
• Renovation and new facilities
Because of the effects of COVID-19, donations made this year can particularly help certain services and the help that is provided to patients at Ozarks Healthcare. The Ozarks Healthcare Cancer Treatment Center Emergency Patient Fund is a collection that could particularly benefit from donations made this holiday season. Assisting with cancer patients’ medication copays, purchasing gas cards or lodging for patients who travel long distances daily for treatment, paying for PET scans for patients who are uninsured, buying groceries, and helping with utility costs for patients facing severe financial strain due to their cancer treatment are some of the ways donations are used.
“This year, we have had to use more of our funds than ever due to the financial strain many patients have experienced from the economic effects of COVID-19,” Alexandra Malisheski, Ozarks Healthcare Director of Oncology Services, said. “Without these donations to this fund, we would be unable to provide for the immediate needs our patients have.”
Donations made through Ozarks Healthcare this holiday season can also particularly help the medical system as a whole.
“Technology advances in the medical field have made major headway this year,” Josh Reeves, Ozarks Healthcare Executive Director of Operations, said. “Donors have the opportunity to contribute directly to the future of our medical system this year. New infrared scanners and advanced respiratory equipment are both technologies we will be increasingly looking to add to our treatment options as 2021 approaches. Donations made this year will help us make more high-tech treatment options readily available to our patients.”
Cash, credit card, appreciated stocks and bonds, real estate, and other types of donations are all giving opportunities available through the foundation. If donors wish to give back to a certain service or effort underway at Ozarks Healthcare, they may specify before making a donation. For more information, visit https://www.ozarkshealthcare.com/support-us/foundation/ or call 417-853-5200.
Tax Benefits of Donating this Holiday Season
Contributions to Ozarks Healthcare and other nonprofit organizations may be eligible as income tax charitable deductions, as state law allows. Tax deductible donations can reduce taxable income. To claim tax deductible donations on your taxes, you must itemize on your tax return by filing Schedule A of IRS Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
In general, you can deduct up to 60 percent of your adjusted gross income via charitable donations (100 percent if the gifts are in cash), but you may be limited to 20 percent, 30 percent or 50 percent depending on the type of contribution and the organization (contributions to certain private foundations, veterans organizations, fraternal societies, and cemetery organizations come with a lower limit, for instance). Consult with your accountant or visit https://www.irs.gov/ for more information.
Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing eight primary care and 17 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit www.OzarksHealthcare.com.
From left to right: Gina Conley, respiratory therapist at Ozarks Healthcare, and Natalie York, respiratory services manager at Ozarks Healthcare, pose with a ventilator donated by local community members.