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HRHCare fundraiser earns more than $80K to benefit COVID-19 response effort

HARLEM VALLEY — Rising to meet the region’s healthcare needs in these challenging times, Hudson River Health Care (HRHCare) has been working hard to provide top level care to those residing in its service areas these past few months. Though the COVID-19 pandemic meant they were unable to gather in person this year for its annual Honoring the Hands fundraiser, HRHCare, in partnership with Wölffer Estate Vineyards, held a virtual wine tasting fundraiser on Saturday, June 26.

With locations in Amenia, Dover Plains, Pine Plains and beyond, HRHCare’s mission is to “increase access to comprehensive primary and preventive health care and to improve the health status of our community, especially for the underserved and vulnerable,” according to its website at www.hrhcare.org. 

For the last five years or so, Honoring the Hands has helped HRHCare raise funds to provide comprehensive health care to those in need. 

In previous years, the event has primarily focused on the east end of Long Island to raise money for agricultural farmers who relied on HRHCare for their health care needs. Jeramie Barber, the executive director of the HRHCare Foundation, explained that’s because this demographic “is one that had really hidden from being cared for” and that “there’s been impediments for them in getting the healthcare they really needed.” 

Through past fundraisers, HRHCare has been able to raise enough money to purchase a mobile health unit to go out to farms, communities and churches to provide healthcare to those in need, resolving the transportation barrier that has otherwise hindered people’s ability to get to a healthcare facility. By moving this year’s Honoring the Hands fundraiser to a virtual setting, Barber said HRHCare was able to engage more people through its entire healthcare service area, including in the northern Hudson Valley area.

“This was a little bit new for them because we didn’t normally have an opportunity for them to engage in this,” Barber explained.

From installing pop-up health sites and offering telemedicine to treating COVID-19 cases, HRHCare sought to raise money to benefit its COVID-19 response effort through the event. 

Along with producing an opportunity to open its fundraiser to more people and share the organization’s work with regard to the pandemic, Barber said this year’s Honoring the Hands gave HRHCare an opportunity to introduce the organization as a whole to new groups of people who aren’t necessarily located in its geographic area.

The fundraiser was held via Zoom, it drew 125 households (at least 250 people). In the days leading up to the virtual wine tasting, HRHCare sent out wine packages to more than 160 households, with each package containing three different wines from Wölffer Estate Vineyards. Following a video created by HRHCare during the COVID-19 pandemic and a message from HRHCare CEO Anne Kauffman Nolon, participants were set to dive into the tasting.

More than $80,000 has been raised so far, and Barber reported that the organization is continuing to receive generous contributions from numerous donors. To make a contribution, go online to www.hrhcare.org and click on the “Ways to Contribute” tab.

As far as where HRHCare stands in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, Barber said, “I’d say we have really done an outstanding job making sure we’re doing all we can to care for the patients that turn to us, really expanding our testing and through our additional medicine offerings.”

Regarding the practices HRHCare implemented during the pandemic, Barber said they’ll continue offering telemedicine and organize pop-up health sites on an as-needed basis. 

Telemedicine can be accessed either through video on computer or via phone. 

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