Our colleagues gave help & hope during a COVID-19 childcare crisis
Beth Vermillion, a Medical Office Specialist in Florida, has worked at HCA Healthcare in various roles over the past 10 years. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was the primary caregiver for her three young grandchildren and managing well. But when COVID-19 caused the daycare center her grandchildren attended to temporarily close, she was frantic. She had to continue working to provide for her family, but private childcare was way beyond her budget.
“I was left with no childcare, but I had to work; I had to support the children,” she said. “I was left to find alternative childcare, which meant hiring someone to care for them, and cost three times the amount of their normal daycare.” Faced with a dramatic increase in childcare costs, Beth would not be able to keep up with her normal bills such as housing and utilities.
She had heard of the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund but wasn’t sure if her hardship would qualify. Her Practice Manager shared information about the Hope Fund with Beth, including the many different types of hardships the Hope Fund can help address and the special assistance for childcare provided during the pandemic.
Beth applied for help and felt an intense wave of relief when she was approved just two days later.
“I felt like angels flew down and just lifted weights off my shoulders,” she said. “That gnawing feeling in my stomach immediately left.” Assistance from the Hope Fund helped her place her grandchildren in a new childcare setting, and allowed Beth to keep working.
“There is no way I could have done it alone,” she said. “Through the Hope Fund, I was able to get by and get childcare for the children until their daycare reopened. It really kept me going.”
To her colleagues who may be struggling right now, Beth said, “Even if you think your needs might not be as great as others, if you are experiencing a hardship you should learn more about applying because the Hope Fund is there – your teammates and colleagues want to help you in your time of need.” Her grandchildren – now 5, 3 and 1½ – are doing “fantastic,” she said. When Beth thought she had nowhere to turn, her colleagues extended a helping hand through the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund. “I can’t thank them enough,” she said. “I love happy endings, and this is one of them.”
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