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Our Lady Fund Society

Our Lady Fund to Continue with Healing Purpose through the Our Lady Society

Thanks to the support of the Southern New Jersey community, the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was successfully restored and reinstalled atop Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center on April 3, 2012.

Associated with the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France, Our Lady of Lourdes is a symbol of healing.   Countless pilgrims continue to visit that site, many claiming healing from the waters.   Just as in Lourdes, France many years ago, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center (now Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes) has also been a light of hope and healing for our community for decades.

When Our Lady was damaged in the earthquake in August 2011, our friends and neighbors responded to help restore her.   In that same way, she reminded us that “damage” in the life a family member, friend or neighbor is a time to come together to offer healing and support.    Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes provides tremendous healing to the broken of our community that encompasses mind, body and spirit in the tradition of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, New York.

But we cannot do this alone — Join the new Our Lady Society of Our Lady of Lourdes to continue to provide for the broken in our community through these programs:

Helping heal those with no alternative — the impact of the economic downturn on the Camden community has been felt the most by those with the least resources. Through the Lourdes Community Health Practice a safety net for healthcare is provided for uninsured individuals at their time of need until health coverage is acquired through employment, government assistance or other forms of healthcare aid.

Staffed by volunteer physicians and nurses, free primary and specialty care is offered one evening a week by appointment only.   The Community Health Practice provides care to over 500 people a year for all medical needs. Our doctors and nurses donate their time and expertise, but support is needed to provide medical supplies, medication assistance, and lab work. More than just a clinic, Community Health Practice also serves as a resource to the community and the place people turn to when they have nowhere else to go. By assisting Camden County residents to navigate through the system of healthcare and social service providers, Community Health Practice helps those with no alternative – the uninsured.

Additional physician volunteers are also needed especially in the specialties of Gastroenterology, rheumatology, orthopedics, neurology or pulmonary disease.

Saving Our Youth:  The challenges for youth in Camden and other communities are many and community supports are essential to building a bridge through this difficult transition.   This is where The Bridge comes in – it recognizes the special psychological, social, and spiritual needs of the teens who will be our future neighbors and community leaders.   Founded by Sr. Helen Owens, OSF, RN, MSN, D.Min., in 1979 with the help of youth and adults, The Bridge responds to a need for a safe haven for young people to go and freely talk about their concerns while learning about the consequences of their actions.   Serving the greater Camden area, The Bridge is a free program for teens.   Your help is needed to help offer the program to more children through our Weekly Empowerment Sessions and to offer the program to more students in the Camden schools.

Helping Our Children:   The Early Intervention Program at Lourdes began nearly 25 years ago to provide therapy services to children – under the age of three- who have special needs.   The mission, however, is so much more.   Working with the area’s poorest of families in their homes, our dedicated therapists serve over 250 families in and around Camden City.     Our children have a variety of diagnoses from developmental delay to cerebral palsy and autism.   Some children are the victims of abuse or neglect.

Our state funding provides for occupational, physical and speech therapy, special educators, social work and a family liaison. But the families need so much more which is not covered by the funding.   Our speech therapist was trying to work on feeding, yet there was no food in the house.   The physical therapist was trying to work on crawling to strengthen the legs of a two year old that could not yet walk- yet there were no toys to motivate the little boy.   The social worker arranged for a 3 year old to start the preschool disabled program but the family could not afford basic school supplies.   A mother of triplets was placing cotton balls in her infants’ ears every night. No one knew why, until she finally confided that it kept the roaches out. Her home was clean, but her building was not pest-free.

These are not hypothetical examples- they and many more are true.   Many of the families we serve lack the ability to provide even the most basic supplies for themselves and their children.   But, our families are proud, many have a difficult time accepting help.   Our goal is to preserve the dignity and privacy of our families, while still offering what is most needed.  We also teach skills like budgeting, money management and parenting — to build up self sufficiency.

The help you give may seem small, but to these families, it will have a huge impact.   Assistance is needed to provide emergency food, developmental toys and supplies for therapies, school supplies for our three year olds when they transition to preschool, and pest extermination services.

Your Help Will Make a Difference!

Join Our Lady Society and see your gift have a direct impact.   You may direct your gift to one of these programs or make a general gift and it will benefit all programs for those most in need in our communities.

Donors will receive the Our Lady pin and membership in the Our Lady Society.   As a member of the Our Lady Society, you will be invited to the annual Our Lady Society Mass at the chapel of Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes . You will also be invited to other Medical Center programs and receive special Our Lady Society discounts for wellness and spiritual education workshops.

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