Emerging Non-Profit Serves Families of Critically Ill Children

Financial Contributions Are Needed To Help Brighten The Holidays Of Here To Serve Families Suffering From A Medical Crisis

Monday, December 16, 2013 | 5:56 pm

Everyone knows what time of year it is. It’s a month of reflection, compassion, friends and family and celebrating the holidays. What most everyone doesn’t know is what it is like to face the holidays as a family with a critically ill child or parent of young children.

Enter Here to Serve, an innovative and emerging nonprofit based in the San Gabriel Valley that helps families, having loved ones who experience a life-threatening health crisis, with much needed non-medical assistance.

“I am a mother and a wife who has been through life-threatening medical events with both my husband and son,” said Here to Serve Founder/CEO Kathleen Quintas, a long-time resident of Sierra Madre. “I understand the pain, the financial struggle, and feelings of helplessness that afflict these families who are trying to keep their life together as they care for a critically ill loved one. I saw a gap in coordinating resources and identifying and providing available services for families, and I felt it was my duty, even calling, to assist them.”

Such feelings of helplessness are often magnified during the holidays. Through its Adopt-A-Family program, Here To Serve is purchasing Christmas gifts for the families it assists who have a child in medical crisis or, as is often the case, a family that has a critically-ill parent with small children at home. Even with insurance, medical crises are financially draining, more so for people who are not on any form of government assistance, what Quintas calls the “invisibly underserved, the lower middle and middle class.”

Here To Serve is committed to brightening the holidays of its 57 family members. As Christmas is next week, instead of adopting a family or donating gifts, people are encouraged to make a financial contribution at www.heretoserve.org. These tax-deductible donations will be used to replenish some of the organization’s general fund that has already been spent on gifts, holiday checks yet to be written or financial aid for the family.

“There are the visibly underserved and the invisibly underserved,” continued Quintas who notes that one in five families this year alone will struggle both emotionally and financially after a family member suffers a life-threatening illness, accident or violent crime that causes severe bodily injury. “One of our goals at Here To Serve is to help shed light on those people in our community who make $1 more than government assistance allows, the invisibly underserved. This group of people who are the backbone of our society and economy are losing their jobs, homes, financial wellbeing as they care for a critically ill family member without government assistance to help with food, housing, medical and the list goes on. We relieve some of the burden of day-to-day actives from cooking meals to child care to walking dogs to fundraising to help with bills.”

Among its many distinctions, Here to Serve identifies and targets organizations as well as mobilizes friends and community members to provide assistance to its families. It also guides families through the maze of available resources, with associated paper work, as well as responds to ever-changing family needs brought on by the medical crisis. The organization constantly assimilates new information to better assist the individual, family, and caregiver(s).

More information can be found by visiting www.heretoserve.org or on Facebook at Here To Serve, Inc.

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