Caring Across the Valley

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation offered critical community support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the many challenges of the past year, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation (SVMHF) has been ready to serve the needs of the community. We are dedicated to providing help to the most vulnerable and the organizations that do so much to help them.

A Foundation of Protection

Two men in surgical masks load personal protective supplies into a car.
Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation helped deliver PPE to organizations in need.

In the early days of the pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply. Limited funds and access made it especially challenging for nonprofits and community-based organizations to get the PPE needed to protect their frontline volunteers and the people they served. For this reason, delivering PPE to those organizations was the first of many direct-impact projects the SVMHF spearheaded to provide relief and support public safety during the crisis.

First, the SVMHF partnered with Blue Zones Project of Monterey County to find the organizations with the greatest need. The SVMHF then leveraged its affiliation with the hospital to purchase PPE through philanthropic funding and recruit volunteers to deliver it. In the end, the SVMHF delivered thousands of masks to organizations like Dorothy’s Place, Meals on Wheels, Alliance on Aging, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County, and Monterey-Salinas Transit, that support seniors, children, the homeless and other at-risk populations.

Support in a Time of Mourning

A masked female hospital staff member reaches out to comfort a masked older male patient.
SVMHF helped SVMHS support patients and families, including those mourning lost loved ones.

The pandemic brought grief and loss in many forms to families in the Salinas Valley. In particular, Latino families faced higher than average losses and hardship due to COVID-19. Not only were many facing the loss of a loved one, but many cultural traditions, such as holding a family vigil before the funeral, were limited by COVID-19 precautions. Due to visitation restrictions, family could not be by their loved one’s side and could not access the chaplain and social workers who would normally be there to support them in non-pandemic times.

Kimberly De Serpa, the lead clinical social worker at SVMH, reached out to SVMHF with an idea to help Spanish-speaking families who had been most impacted by immense loss – by bringing grief support to them. In a 50/50 partnership, Hospice Giving Foundation and SVMHF, through its Greatest Needs fund, provided a free full-year grief counseling program for Spanish-speaking families.

Serving the Underserved

A male SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic staff member takes a male patient’s information on a clipboard.
The SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic helped deliver basic medical services where they were needed most.

The COVID-19 pandemic amplified public health vulnerabilities nationwide, and underserved communities in Salinas Valley were no exception. The SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic and the Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center in Gonzales were ready to deliver basic medical services where they were needed most.

Supported by the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation Health and Wellness Fund, the SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic provides services at locations including the Walmart on North Main Street in Salinas, Everett Alvarez High School, the Greenfield Family Resource Center, the Castro Plaza Family Resource Center in Castroville and the MLK Family Resource Center. The Mobile Clinic brings care directly to low-income neighborhoods at no cost to patients. In addition, as a rural healthcare clinic, the Healthcare System’s Taylor Farms Family Health & Wellness Center improves access to primary care in a traditionally underserved area.

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