By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: Apr. 12, 2018 | 1:15 p.m.
WAVERLY – “It all started from an article I read,” began Doris Auton, describing how a group of local folks recently began making and delivering Care Bags for the comfort of chemotherapy patients. “I picked up a magazine, and generally I’d have put in the trashcan, but something made me open it. And there was a little article about how to help cancer payments. Care bags. Every item in that bag has a purpose for that patient. How simple! What a great thing to do.”
So Doris took the idea to her church, and the ladies at Newville Baptist Church in Waverly were immediately responsive to the idea.
“We called the Cancer Center at Southside Medical,” she said, “and they told me they have approximately 50 new cancer patients a month! We decided it probably was a little more than we could do as an individual church, so we began inviting churches in the area to participate. We now have ten churches supporting this Chemo Care Bags program through labor! It’s a mixed denominational, mixed racial group – Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians – you name ’em, we’ve got ‘em. We’ve had 20 to 30 people every month to come help and have lunch and fellowship together, and I really and truly think that fellowship means as much to all of us as what we’re doing. It’s bringing the area together – a double blessing. It is. It really is. WE are receiving a blessing and we are hopefully in turn blessing those cancer patients.”
Auton explained that the Care Bags to help Cancer patients during a difficult time – while they’re receiving their chemotherapy.
“Each bag has nine things,” she said, “each with a specific purpose. We put in a fleece blanket, hand lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer, inspirational book, puzzle book and pen, a small writing tablet, bag of peppermint candy, and tissues in a reusable tote bag big enough they can add a bottle of water or whatever they want to take. When it’s time for their chemotherapy, they can just pick that bag up and go.”
Volunteers deliver the Care Bags once a month to the Cancer Institute at Southside Regional Cancer Center in Petersburg.
“As a new patient comes in, they give them one of these Care Bags,” Auton explained. “After we took the first 50 in January, when I went back in Feb to take the bags and asked how the number was working out, they said they had one bag left ‘and we have a patient today that’s going to get that.’ That blew my mind. I could not believe they have that many new cancer patients every month at just that one center. And they said, ‘If there’s ever a month when we have any left over, if you all don’t mind, we would love to share with some of our other centers.’
The group gets together the first Thursday of each month to pack the bags and share a pot luck lunch, and she said there are two specific needs important for continuing – and expanding – the Care Bags initiative.
“We started in January, and we’ve donated 200 bags to the center over the last four months,” she said. “We would love it if we could get more people and more funding, because they have seven locations, but no other groups that do this every month. There’s a NEED for more bags, and each bag costs us approximately $9. Doing 50 bags a month, that’s $450 dollars a month.”
Auton said that anyone interested in helping can call 804 834 2674 to volunteer, or send donations to Newville Baptist Church, 7710 Beefsteak Road, Waverly, VA 23890 with “Care Bags” on the Memo Line.
“Yesterday while we were there,” she added, “one little lady was going through and looking at each item in her bag, and I had the opportunity to tell her that we did them because we care – and she smiled. I know God had a hand in this, because it’s working. Because I normally would have thrown that magazine in the trashcan. It was meant to be. We were supposed to be getting together as a community of churches and helping somebody else, and that’s why we’re doing it.”