It's a service most people don't think about until they need it.
Hospice offers end-of-life care and services for patients in their own homes. Now a group is trying to raise money to support Hinds Hospice in Merced.
Robin McCall, whose husband, Mike, died from cancer three years ago, witnessed the good that Hinds Hospice did for them.
"That really impressed me," she said. "Now, this is my way to give back."
McCall is on the board of directors for Hinds Hospice and part of the second annual Ray of Hope campaign.
All donations from the campaign go to the hospice, which helps 176 patients a day in Merced, Madera and Fresno counties, McCall said.
David Silveira, interim director of outpatient services for Hinds Hospice, said it's a nonprofit organization that relies a lot on donations.
Some of the organization's funding comes from insurance reimbursements, but that doesn't cover the full amount it takes to care for the patients, he said. Twenty percent to 40 percent of the cost isn't covered by insurance and has to come from other sources.
Hinds Hospice also offers programs that don't get any insurance reimbursement, Silveira noted.
One program, known as Angel Babies, helps mothers and families that have been through a miscarriage or the death of an infant. There is also a center for grieving and healing that offers counseling and support groups.
Services like these are why the Ray of Hope fund-raiser is so vital to the success of hospice, McCall said. Last year, the fund-raiser brought in more than $238,000.
Hinds Hospice cares for patients even if they don't have insurance, McCall added. "Most won't ever have to use it, but when you do, you thank God it's there," she said.
McCall, who's captain of Team MBA this year, is raising funds by reaching out to people in the community. She also donated some of her late husband's clothes to The Armory, which sells men's clothing, at 1806 Canal St. The proceeds will go toward the fund-raiser.
Donations to Ray of Hope may be made to Hinds Hospice at 410 W. Main St., Merced, McCall said. The campaign ends May 9, but donations will be accepted until the end of the year.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.