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Centra cares: Emily Edmonds

Published on Tuesday March 5, 2024
CentraCares - Emily Edmonds_Coldest Night

The Coldest Night of the Year

No matter which department a person works in within our hospital system, the radiating effects of homelessness are evident. Without safe housing, an individual’s mental, physical and spiritual health will decline. I have witnessed this playing out countless times over the years, but I have also seen so many glimmers of hope for those facing homelessness. 

One such source of hope is Miriam’s House. I have only lived in Lynchburg and worked with Centra for about 3 years, but it didn’t take me long to start hearing patients share their positive experiences with Miriam’s House. Miriam’s House sees housing as a basic human right and works to ensure that everyone in Lynchburg and the surrounding area has that right. 

I began supporting Miriam’s House when I was able to, and I learned about the Coldest Night of the Year Walk through their newsletter. I was immediately excited! The opportunity to show support for a cause I believed in through such a tangible way felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up. 

Within my department, Spiritual Care and Education, many of us have shared a desire for more chances to connect with each other and the wider community as a team. With that in mind, I created a team (Chilly Chaplains) for the Coldest Night of the Year to provide that opportunity for connection. We had a very small team, as some team members had to drop out, yet we certainly never felt small or out of place. 

What struck me the most about the event was how connected everyone was and the positive energy which filled the space amidst the wind and rain. Christina Douglas from our team shared, “One thing that stuck out to me was the amount of children that were there. Driving to the event in the rain with my two young children in the car with me, I wanted to turn around and return home. Then I thought about the very reason we are walking, to support those moms and families that do not have a choice or a home to return to.” 

I loved seeing how many current and former Centra Caregivers were participating! There was the amazing team of pr-ICE Walkers who have done fantastic work over the past few weeks to support the cause, plus, many other Centra caregivers walking with their schools, churches and other groups. 

The whole point of this walk was to show a small glimpse into the reality facing those without housing in the winter months. We fully stand and fight for the mission to end homelessness in our community. Until that goal is accomplished, there is still work to be done. 

Last fall, our department also worked with Park View Community Mission to help stock and prepare their food pantry for community members. Park View Community Mission and Miriam’s House along with many others are working to provide the necessities of clean water, nutritious food and safe housing to everyone. 

Sometimes as Caregivers, it can feel like the hurts in our patients and community are too overwhelming to heal, but it helps so much to know we are not in it alone and can help each other along the way. 

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