St. Mary Foundation Continues Community Support During COVID-19 Crisis

By Staff Reports

(Apple Valley)– Through its Emergency Response and Recovery Fund, the St. Mary Foundation has raised more than $30,000 to help support local organizations focused on helping provide food and housing to the community.

Since the inception of the emergency fund, St. Mary Foundation along with the Providence St. Joseph Partnership Fund have combined to raise more than $100,000 for High Desert nonprofit groups.

“In recent years, we have raised funds to purchase baby warmers, heart monitors and to support nurse education scholarships,” St. Mary Chief Philanthropy Officer John Kozyra said. “Given everything that has happened during this crisis, St. Mary’s Chief Executive Randall Castillo and I believe it is our responsibility to focus energy and resources on supporting the critical needs of our community.”

At this time, the Foundation has granted funds to the following organizations:

  • Victor Valley Community Services Council to ensure homebound seniors receive much-needed staple foods like rice, beans and canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Food Forward to bring truckloads of nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables to local food banks to be distributed to families in need.
  • High Desert Homeless Services to ensure they have the resources to meet the increasing demands of homeless residents in the coming months as unemployment numbers continue to rise.

Thanks to generous donations of more than 100 donors, the foundation has been able to secure a large amount of capital through its Emergency Response and Recovery Fund — a tool that has been instrumental in allowing the foundation to pivot its community aid to areas affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Allocation of money from the Emergency Response and Recovery Fund is done in consultation with a special committee composed of community members including Regina Weatherspoon-Bell, Sister Paulette Deters, Judith Lux, Cassandra Searcy and Steve Stewart.

These efforts to help the community also are in line with St. Mary’s long history of serving those in need, as well as the charitable legacies of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Sisters of Providence.

In the 1600s, the Sisters of St. Joseph were founded by Jesuit priest Father Jean Pierre Medaille who directed them to “go into the community and find out the needs, then find like-minded partners to meet those needs.” Today, St. Mary Medical Center continues to follow this directive in how it and parent organization Providence serve the High Desert community.

“In uncertain and challenging times, it is critical that we look to our mission and values to guide our path,” St. Mary Chief Mission Officer Judy Wagner said. “During this crisis, they have truly been our guiding star. We just wish we could do even more for our community.”

To learn more or to support the St. Mary Emergency Response and Recovery Fund, please visit

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