Hospice House understands importance of snacks

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Visit Hospice House of the Carolina Foothills in Landrum, on any day of the week and, alongside the staff, you’ll see a number of volunteers — from greeters to food servers, and patient companions to administrative aides.

Now, proving volunteers come from all walks of life, generously sharing their unique gifts, skills and ideas, Hospice House has a snack squad.

The simple things often make a bigger difference in life than we think. So how can a cookie or candy bar, a treat the average person might take for granted, make an impact? Imagine a patient’s family members hurrying to Hospice House to be with a loved one who has just been admitted. They haven’t had time to eat, and they don’t want to leave the patient’s room.

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A package of crackers is a welcome sight. Or, in some cases, a patient may crave a little something to munch on. Besides, snacks are just plain fun, a little delight during what can be a stressful time.

Marsha Rigney knows firsthand the emotional highs and lows experienced by the families of hospice patients. Three years ago her mother, Evelyn Riddle, spent three weeks at a Hospice House in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to her mother’s admittance, Rigney had no exposure to Hospice care.

“I realized what compassionate, caring and blessed places these houses are,” Rigney said. “At such a difficult time, with the passing of my sweet mom, I felt very blessed and fortunate that my mom could spend her last days in a place I considered the closest place to heaven. Needless to say, my experience with Hospice left a very endearing impression in my heart, one I will never forget, and be forever thankful for.”

After her husband retired, the Asheville native packed up their Wisconsin home and the family returned to her roots, settling in Tryon. She was happy to discover Hospice House of the Carolina Foothills just a short drive away, and with that discovery came the opportunity to give back.

“One of my true joys in life is doing for others. To me there is nothing more rewarding. As a tribute to my mom, I wanted to do something special for Hospice and the families who are going through what I went through … so I decided to donate snacks for the families once a month, which I started doing last month,” she said.

Rigney includes peanut butter, crackers, chips, chocolates, cookies, fruits and puddings in her monthly donation of cheer.

“To me, it is a special token of love and gratitude from my heart, to an organization that I have come to love and appreciate,” she said. “Providing this service is a loving commitment that keeps the memory of my precious mother present while each family enjoys their snacks. The joy I receive from giving is priceless.”

Soon Rigney will be donating more of her time as the newest member of the Friendship Circle, a group that plans and produces fundraising events to support Hospice of the Carolina Foothills.