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The Origin of a Saint Joseph Tradition

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Many lives have been saved and families forever changed thanks in part to the generous support of our donors.

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A dedicated and compassionate caregiver at St. Joseph Hospital for decades, Melvin Schwartz and his wife demonstrated their friendship and support for the Hospital by establishing a legacy through a generous charitable planned gift.”

The Origin of a Saint Joseph's Tradition

In December of 2011, Lauren Hissrich texted her friend Michelle Lankwarden to see if she wanted to donate some toys for the holidays to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Saint Joseph’s had not only taken excellent care of her husband Mike Hissrich when he was diagnosed with cancer, but they had also saved the life of Lauren and Mike’s firstborn son, Harry, who was born five weeks premature. Then they took excellent care of their second-born son, Benjamin, who was born three weeks early.

Mike and the boys are all thriving now, thanks in no small part to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Michelle replied enthusiastically to Lauren’s idea, and said, “Hey! Let’s ask some friends if they want to help!” Within three days, they had checks, cash and gift cards totaling $2,000. Lauren, Mike, Baby Harry, and Michelle brought three carloads of toys to Saint Joseph’s that December and everyone cried tears of joy.

It went so well that Lauren and Michelle decided to get even more organized the following year and set up a crowdfunding page. This time, they got over $6,000 in donations and officially partnered with Providence Saint Joseph Foundation to get all the toys (and clothes) to those who really needed them.

Today, they use Providence’s crowdfunding platform so there are no administrative fees and all donations are tax-deductible. That means every penny raised gets spent on toys, clothes, books, art supplies, sporting goods, diapers, toiletries and other necessities. Year after year, they have successfully grown their donation base and have been able to better serve the needs of the organizations Providence has partnered with. In 2019, they raised over $42,000!

“We are proud of what we’ve been able to do,” says Lauren. “But mostly we’re humbled. Humbled by the generosity of our families, friends, co-workers, and friends of friends of friends who continue to donate to our cause year after year. Without them, we would still help these organizations but we wouldn’t be able to do as much.”

Michelle notes, “We’ve been empowered by how much we’ve been able to accomplish. We don’t have any big backers behind us. We were just three people who care enough to try and make a small difference.

Their recommendation to those who are moved to help: “For anyone who has always wanted to help but has been overwhelmed by the vast and seemingly endless needs of our community, just start small. It’s surprisingly effective.”

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Contact Us

Call: 818-847-4673

Address: 501 S Buena Vista St, Burbank, CA 91505

Email: psjfoundation@providence.org

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