Baylor Scott and White – Hillcrest Seeking Bilingual Spiritual Care Volunteers!

By Matthew Hoffman, MA, BCC

We began, about three years ago, the “Good Friends Volunteer Spiritual Care Program” out of a conviction that within our city, there is a “community of healers,” who if given proper training, in some very basic spiritual care and visitation ministry, under the help and guidance of our professionally trained Staff Chaplains, could come into the hospital context and make a difference in the lives of people in need.  

Since we began this volunteer program, with now, visits numbering into the thousands, having taken place, this hypothesis has born itself out to be true, that there are everyday people, who can stand as “healers,” in sacred places, like that of a patient’s room, and by doing so, can make a profound, health giving difference in the trajectory of people’s lives.

Here in Waco, we are seeking to take the “Good Friends” program and pilot a new version of this to help mobilize volunteers from local bilingual/Spanish speaking congregations to the help advance the care of our Spanish only speaking patients.  Coming into a hospital can be a very anxiety producing experience.  How much more so if you speak a different language than the majority of your healthcare team?  By being a member of the Good Friends program as a bilingual volunteer you will be a welcomed presence offering prayer as desired, a listening ear and making people aware of the other spiritual care resources that would be available to them.  

  • Through the Good Friend Program you will be trained in areas of:
  • How to minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of the sick.
  • Discover the unique nature of hospital ministry.
  • How to care for people of diverse religious traditions and cultures.
  • Being a ministry of presence
  • The ministry of active listening

If you would like to be part of the Good Friends program as a bilingual volunteer, or if you just want to grow in your ability to care for sick within your own faith community (for pastors, who would like to send members to this training for added help in their congregation, please do so!), join us on Monday, March 25 from 1-430pm at the Allison Auditorium at Baylor Scott and White Health-Hillcrest Hospital. You can RSVP to Chaplain Matthew Hoffman @ [email protected]    

Chaplain Matthew Hoffman is a Board Certified Chaplain who serves at the system level as a Manager of Baylor Scott and White Health’s Faith In Action Initiatives (CTX).  He oversees the development of various spiritual care programs in many of BSWH’s hospitals within its Central Division, as well as its local and international humanitarian aid and medical missions programs. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

2018 Greatest Hits #9: Faith in Action Initiatives provides medical supplies & equipment for non-profits

(During these last few weeks of December we will be reprising the Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts for 2018 from the Act Locally Waco blog. I couldn’t possibly pick my favorites – so I used the simple (cop out?)  approach of pulling up the 10 blog posts that got the most “opens” according to our Google Analytics.  It is an intriguing collection that gives at least a little insight into the interests and concerns of Act Locally Waco readers. I hope this “Top 10” idea inspires you to go back and re-read your personal favorites.  There have been so many terrific ones… If you would like to see the Top 10 according to Google Analytics, here’s the link: Top 10 Most Opened Blog Posts of 2018.  Merry Christmas! — ABT) 

By Matthew Hoffman

Faith In Action Initiatives (FIAI) is the medical missions and humanitarian aid arm of Baylor Scott & White Health. FIAI is a source of medical supplies, equipment and furniture donations to nonprofit charitable organizations. My name is Matthew Hoffman.  I am the FIAI strategy coordinator in Waco who established the center following the merger of Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare in 2013.

FIAI offers many programs, but one of its primary initiatives is its Second Life Resource Center at 3000 Herring Avenue in Waco. FIAI receives items from nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and members of the community. Items include wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and basic medical goods. Each week, shipments of medical supplies, equipment and furniture are processed, sorted and shelved by staff and volunteers for donation to local and international non-profit charitable organizations. Donation recipients include medical clinics, medical missions, churches, transitional living facilities, educational institutions, and humanitarian aid organizations. Our Second Life Resource Center serves the Waco, College Station, Temple, Austin and Hill Country regions.

Why does Faith In Action do this? We do this, first and foremost, because we care about people and we want to see people cared for. It is our hope to help elevate access to health care by coming alongside these nonprofit organizations and supplying their resource needs as we are able. When there are so many good nonprofit, charitable organizations within our communities who are bringing loving, compassionate care to others, we want to help resource their needs. By doing this, these nonprofits are better able to reallocate their funds to other projects and expand their own work when they aren’t having to pay for items that we are able to freely give to them. The end result of this is that we hope to help create healthier communities.

My hope is that Faith In Action – Central Texas will become increasingly recognized as a “one-stop shop” for resourcing nonprofit needs in the area. In its first year, FIAI’s Central Texas division was able to give away more than $250,000 worth of goods to local and international humanitarian aid efforts, and is on target to exceed $1 million in total donations.

The initiatives also help reduce waste. If we can give to a homeless shelter or a transitional living facility a perfectly good bed, or a pregnancy help center baby formula and diapers, or a charitable clinic basic goods that serve low income areas, instead of throwing these items away and filling up our landfills, we will give it away to good people every time.

Beyond serving local communities, FIAI also is heavily involved internationally. FIAI sends, on average, a 40-foot shipping container each month full of supplies to medical missions, hospitals or humanitarian aid efforts located worldwide.

If you would like to be part of FIAI by either donating goods or volunteering your time at our Second Life Resource Center, or if you are a nonprofit in need of resources, please contact me by phone at (254) 227-2640, or by email at [email protected].  

Matthew HoffmanMatthew Hoffman has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and development with community, health care, and faith-based organizations. He currently serves as the Strategy Coordinator for Baylor Scott & White Health’s Faith In Action Initiatives – Central Division, which he sees as a dream come true to be able to link larger organizations with the needs of the poor both here locally and abroad. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (emphasis on sociology and international relations) from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in theology (emphasis on community development and ministries to the poor) from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has two children and has been married to an incredible human being and best friend, Anna, for 25 years.  

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.