Kappa Guild members participated in a virtual tour of Baltimore-area hospitals July 29, speaking with medical staff and being shown the medical equipment that they had helped the hospitals to purchase.
The tour represented a longstanding goal of the group to gain a clearer, more tangible sense of what their efforts were contributing to, said Kappa Guild President Sheila Mentz.
“We give our equipment to pediatric and NICU units of the hospitals,” Mentz said, “and we have been trying for a couple of years to arrange to take members down to the hospitals to see the equipment.” Restrictions prevented the organization from visiting these facilities in any sizable numbers. However, the prevalence of online meetings this year made the idea of a virtual tour easier to conceptualize.
“I’m getting the girls online,” Mentz said, “maybe the doctors can do a virtual tour … and show the girls our equipment that we’ve given over the years.”
The idea was quickly embraced by Drs. Richard Katz of Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital and Michael Langbaum of the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, Mentz said, with the Mt. Washington tour being broadcast by Jill Feinberg, the hospital’s vice president of external relations and development. University of Maryland Medical Center has expressed interest in doing a similar event later in August, as has Sinai Hospital.
“It was so rewarding, heartwarming and touching to see the children playing with the wall games and the parachute and to see our equipment with the plaques on them saying ‘Donated by the Kappa Guild, Inc.,'” Mentz said. “We provide games and fun items for their emotional needs and medical equipment for their physical needs-not just for children in hospitals but at special camps and agencies.”
“I think the virtual meeting will give our girls a little more of an incentive,” said Roslyn Caplan, a previous president of Kappa Guild. “I think they’ll put forth a little more extra to sell that extra ticket to one of our fundraisers.”
Caplan went on to say that the tour was “so informative, and it just gives the feeling that you want to do more. I know I do. After all these years I still feel I want to do more.”
Mentz explained that concerns regarding the coronavirus have had a heavy impact on their operations and fundraising capacity, which under normal circumstances raises thousands of dollars for children’s health causes.
“We have lost a lot of our fundraising opportunities,” Mentz said, including their planned fashion show at Sinai Hospital and their pre-Mother’s Day and pre-Father’s Day gift wrap programs at Barnes & Noble. With the majority of the organization’s members over 70, Mentz was reluctant to put them in harm’s way.
“I’m hoping that, by the women seeing the equipment, they’ll realize that, even though we are not together, that the children are always going to be there for our help,” Mentz said, “and that we’re going to do whatever we can to raise funds, whichever way we can, during this time.”