Dose of Hope
The lobby of the Booth Manor in Grandview, Mo. buzzed with excitement. Residents wandered from their apartments after months of social distancing. For the first time in close to a year, the doors were opened to outside visitors, including the guests of the hour.
A dozen staffers from Heart to Heart International arrived bearing 100 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. More than enough for residents of the senior apartments and front-line Salvation Army employees.
Once the news started circulating that the first dose of the vaccine would be available on Thursday, March 4, the response from residents was overwhelmingly positive. “They were very, very relieved and very excited,” said Belva Ewing, the Booth Manor Social Service Coordinator. “Some of them had been trying to get the shot and unable for whatever reason to find access to the shot.”
About half of the residents at the Booth Manor, of all who fell in the high-risk category age group, still needed the vaccine. Veterans had received their shots thanks to the VA and some residents had received doses from their regular doctors.
“Most of the tenants here do not drive and they don’t have cars,” Ewing said.
So, the medicine came to the residents, thanks to Heart to Heart International, an organization well known for bringing medical care to people most in need in remote corners of the world, not necessarily across town from its Lenexa, Kan. headquarters.
“We really developed initially as an international organization, but we would fly over places that were in the U.S. that were in great need as well,” said Dr. Richard Randolph, Senior Chief Medical Officer for Heart to Heart.
The organization received permission to administer doses of the vaccine in the state of Missouri. The doses plunged into arms on the first Thursday in March were the first doses the organization received from the state. It also has a structure in place for vaccines in Kansas and is just waiting to receive doses from that state as well.
For Dr. Randolph, it’s the first step in Heart to Heart making an impact in its hometown.
“We take the health care to the people. Whenever we would set up in another country, we would go take out there to the people that were in need,” Dr. Randolph said.
In Kansas City, they found a community in need in the 81-apartment Booth Manor operated by The Salvation Army. When the pandemic took hold and changed life dramatically a year ago, the residents and staff have coped with a lot.
Ewing said, “We have adjusted but it was a total change, so there's been a certain amount of stress and we've had to monitor our tenants closely for levels of depression.”
With the second dose coming in a couple of weeks, both The Salvation Army and Heart to Heart hope this can mean a change in outlook and new hope for the residents of Booth Manor. And a lobby with a little more life.