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Fundraiser this weekend to benefit Women's Medical Respite

A bed in a darkened room
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A bed in a darkened room

The nonprofit provides a safe place to recover for homeless women with an acute medical issue.

A fundraiser this weekend will benefit an organization in Springfield, MO that provides a safe space to recover for homeless women dealing with a medical issue.

Women’s Medical Respite Executive Director Abigail Cool said the nonprofit was founded in 2015 by Carol Daniel who was an assistant professor in the Missouri State University Nursing Department. She and her students saw a need for a temporary shelter for women who were medically compromised.

The respite serves women who are suffering from acute illness and who are referred by CoxHealth, Mercy, Safe to Sleep and One Door.

Cool said women shouldn’t have to recover on the street.

"People steal your medicine — if you have it," she said. Where are you going to get water and warmth and restroom facilities? It's just really tragic and very very difficult to survive on the streets being medically fragile."

Women’s Medical Respite been housed at The Kitchen, Inc., but the organization recently purchased a home where it will be able to serve up to eight women at a time – five more than it currently can – when renovations are complete.

Cool said the need for their services is great.

"In 2022, partly because of space, partly because of ADA accessible facilities, we had to turn away over 75 women," she said.

To date, she said they’ve cared for 87 women.

"I'm sure if we had a 200-bed facility, we could fill them up," said Cool. "There's just so much need."

The typical stay is 21 to 30 days.

She hopes that once more people know about and support Women’s Medical Respite, they can expand their services to provide hospice care and have a medical team onsite.

The fundraiser to benefit Women’s Medical Respite is Saturday afternoon, November 11, from 2 to 4 at Pythian Castle. Rising Up to Build Healthy Lives will feature entertainment, charcuterie and pastries. A cash bar will be available. For tickets, visit womensmedicalrespite.org.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.