Keeping Families Close with Hosts for Hospitals

on .

hostsforhospitalswebMembers at Main Line Unitarian Church are always looking for inspiring non-profit organizations to team up with, and Philadelphia-based Hosts for Hospitals was a natural fit for the church’s Offering Outreach program. The organization provides free lodging for family members of patients who come to the Greater Philadelphia area for specialized medical care. Hosts for Hospitals organizes a network of volunteers who open their homes so that family members can focus on supporting their loved ones in a time of need rather than worry about the financial costs of being together.

Hosts for Hospitals was founded in 2000, after Executive Director Michael Aichenbaum had successfully beaten leukemia with the help of a bone marrow transplant. While receiving treatment in New York, his family racked up $20,000 in housing expenses to be with him. When he had the opportunity to start an organization that would help families in similar situations, he knew he had to take it.

Because of excellent local facilities such as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, patients and families come from all over the world to receive the best medical care. Hosts for Hospitals has placed families from all 50 states and more than 85 countries, including 100 Haitian families in 2010.

Main Line Unitarian Church Trustee J.B. Hillman recognized the amazing work Hosts for Hospitals has accomplished in their 12 years. He said, “The mission of Hosts for Hospitals is aligned with our core Unitarian Universalist values of service and dignity. An organization that provides shelter and reduces stress for those in crisis is worthy of not only our financial gifts, but, as several of our members regularly demonstrate, our direct involvement in hosting these individuals and families. We are honored to offer our gifts in support of Hosts for Hospitals.”

Aichenbaum recently visited Main Line Unitarian Church to meet with Rev. Morgan McLean and express his gratitude at being selected as the church’s Offering Outreach organization for the month of December. Through the program, the church donates half of the monthly collection to a deserving non-profit or charity. Hosts for Hospitals received a donation of $2,108.

Aichenbaum said, “This timely donation will help us move forward with some of our core projects. Most immediately we will be able to continue shooting videos of hosts with their guests, which we post on YouTube to inspire other local families to volunteer for the program. With more hosts, over the coming months we will be able to offer free lodging to more patient-families with long-term needs, such as when a loved one is hospitalized at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, or the Crozier Burn Center in Upland.”

To learn more about Hosts for Hospitals, make a donation, or volunteer as a host, visit www.hostsforhospitals.org. To view past organizations that have been a part of the Main Line Unitarian Church Offering Outreach program, visit www.mluc.org/social-action/offering-outreach.

Photo: Hosts for Hospitals Executive Director Michael Aichenbaum receives a donation check in the amount of $2,108 from Rev. Morgan R. McLean of Main Line Unitarian Church. Hosts for Hospitals provides free lodging for family members of patients who come to the Greater Philadelphia area for specialized medical care. The church’s Offering Outreach program donates half of the monthly collection to a deserving non-profit organization. Photo courtesy of MLUC Communications.