Due to the increasing opioid epidemic in the United States, more grandparents are raising their grandchildren – some while living with the trauma associated with their child’s addiction. Not only are the grandparents responsible for their grandchildren’s physical well-being and day-to-day care, but they have the additional challenge of raising one or more children with little to no financial support. Many of the families we serve at Pittsburgh Mercy face similar challenges.
After seeing a recent “60 Minutes” story about grandparents raising grandchildren, a generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave $10,000 to Pittsburgh Mercy to help grandparents who have taken on the role of primary caregiver due to parent opioid addiction.
The Service Coordination Department quickly identified five families and excitedly contacted them about this opportunity. Each family was deeply touched and grateful to be chosen.
- “This is like a miracle. I’m sitting here stunned, not even sure how to say thank you,” D. said to her service coordinator.
- B., another grandparent, said, “It’s such a blessing and will help us so much.”
“This is perfect with school starting because my grandson needed a new pair of shoes,” said M., grandfather of a growing teenage boy.
- R., a grandmother of three, excitedly exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this! Thank you!”
- V., a grandmother of a teenage girl said, “I’m floored and speechless.”
The grandchildren, ages 8 to 15, have been in the care of their grandparents from 2 to 10 years. After raising their own children, these grandparents took on the enormous responsibility of raising their grandchildren lovingly, unselfishly, and without expecting anything in return.
When asked what they would do with the gift, the grandparents immediately named things that their grandchildren needed, without any thought to their own needs. The grandparents also noted how much the gift has helped with basic necessities, back-to-school purchases, and experiences to enrich the children’s well-being.
With this gift, the families purchased:
- Children’s clothing
- Children’s shoes
- Back-to-school supplies (notebooks, pencils, binders, calculators, etc.)
- Bedroom furniture for the children
- A laptop for school use
- Outdoor play equipment to promote exercise
- Educational toys
- Memberships to the YMCA, local museums, and cultural attractions, and sign-up fees for community recreational activities.
The children were very excited to pick out their own clothes, shoes, and supplies without having to worry about the cost.
The families, including the children, wrote thank you letters to the donor to express their gratitude.
Our service coordinators were excited to be a part of this process and overwhelmed by the generosity of the donor. The individual brought such joy and happiness into the lives of five deserving, local families.
“We see in this donor’s generous gesture incredible values practiced: reverence, community, and a commitment to those who are most vulnerable. These are the same values that we, at Pittsburgh Mercy, hold dear and live in our everyday work,” said Sister Susan Welsh, RSM, president and CEO. “All of us at Pittsburgh Mercy – and the five local families who benefited from this individual’s gift – are profoundly grateful for his generosity.”
Learn more about service coordination services at Pittsburgh Mercy.
Learn more about our addiction recovery services.
Learn more about our behavioral health services for children and adolescents.