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Free Rides for Seniors

Free Rides

In Fiscal Year 2016, The Free Rides for Seniors program provded more than 5,048 rides for seniors age 60 and older!

The Free Rides for Seniors transportation van transports senior citizens more than 6,500 times annually to the grocery store, doctor’s offices, pharmacy, UPMC St. Margaret Hospital, to visit friends, funeral homes, discount stores, and other necessary locations within its boundaries. This shuttle service is provided free to seniors with no questions asked. It will pick up and drop off seniors in the corridor from Sharpsburg to Blawnox and Route 28 to the Allegheny River.

To sign up call 412-449-0151.

Once a person has been signed up, simply call this number for a ride 412-782-2001.

Without the bus, I don’t know how I would have gotten my husband, Doug, to and from radiation and chemo. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank God for the bus!” – Debra O., Sharpsburg Resident


“I had heart surgery in April. I would not have gotten out if it wasn’t for the free bus. I was not able to walk too far and the bus picks me up and the door and drops me off.” – Peggy D. Blawnox High Rise



“Since I no longer am able to drive, I still feel like a member of the community because I can get my own groceries, go to my doctor’s appointments and just get out of this apartment when I want to get fresh air.”   - Rosemarie C., Aspinwall Resident




Free Rides Driver


Family Health Center Fund (old copy)

St. Margaret Family Health Centers in Lawrenceville, Bloomfield-Garfield, and New Kensington receive support from the Family Health Center Fund.

The majority of the patients at the Family Health Centers are uninsured or underinsured with issues ranging from basic health needs to complex medical conditions and domestic


Your Donations Matter

Grocery gift cards were purchased using the St. Margaret Foundation Family Health Center Fund and given to the underserved patients to use to prepare a holiday dinner for their family.

The Family Health Center Fund covered the purchase of electronic blood pressure monitors for patients to track their blood pressure at home. This allows for critical medication management and care by the physicians as they can track blood pressures at different times of the day.

The Family Health Center Fund provided an air conditioner for a very sick patient with pulmonary disease so that he could remain at home.

The Bed Fund (Old Copy)

Since 1930, The Bed Fund has been a vital resource for patients of St. Margaret. That year, two young brothers brought pennies, nickels and dimes in an elephant-shaped teapot on a pilgrimage to the hospital to support the free Bed Fund.


Pictured here is the original teapot which two young brothers used to bring their pennies to St. Margaret Memorial Hospital in 1930 --and thus was born the annual children's pilgrimage to support the Free Bed Fund.

The Bed Fund serves people who have little to no health insurance. It helps uninsured and underinsured patients at UPMC St. Margaret and its three Family Health Centers with transportation, medication, insulin, immunizations lodging and more.

Filling the financial gap between covered services and the complete support patients and families may require.

How can you help?


The financial challenges of our nation have affected all of us, but for some it has compromised their most basic quality of life. Here are examples of how you can make a difference by designating a gift to The Bed Fund:

  • $25 pays for a holiday meal for a family of four who are patients at our Family Health Centers
  • $37 pays for one tetanus/diphtheria immunization shot
  • $58 pays for one flu shot
  • $75 pays for an eye exam for a diabetic patient
  • $80 pays for one night's lodging for a family who has traveled far to be with their loved one in the hospital
  • $100 pays for one vial of insulin for a diabetic patient
  • $150 pays for an air conditioner for a patient with pulmonary disease
  • $500 replaces a water heater lost in a flash flood
  • $650 replaces a washer and a dryer lost in a flash flood
  • $1,000-$2,000 pays for numerous medical needs at UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Centers in Bloomfield-Garfield, Lawrenceville, and New Kensington where the vast majority of patients are below the poverty level.

Your Donations Matter


A recently divorced 54-year-old woman without health insurance came to the hospital with a new diagnosis of diabetes. The Bed Fund provided a one month supply of insulin and diabetic supplies while her Medical Assistance application was being processed. This insured that she received the recommended treatment for her condition.

A 42-year-old man without health insurance had stopped taking his medication as he had recently lost his job. His 85-year-old mother contacted the hospital for assistance. The Bed Fund paid for his medication while the hospital’s Care Management completed an application for future medication from a pharmaceutical indigent support program.

An 80-year-old man with neuropathy had a broken walker at home and did not qualify for a new walker as it had been purchased through Medicare within the past five years. The Bed Fund covered the purchase of a new walker to allow him to be safely discharged from the hospital.

A 46-year-old woman with breast cancer had stopped taking all medications because she could not afford them on her income of $400 a month. The Bed Fund provided her medications while Care Management helped with Medical Assistance, pharmaceutical indigent and American Cancer Society applications.

Bloomfield/Garfield Family Health Center had an uninsured patient with an uncontrolled seizure disorder. He was going to the ER because he could not afford his seizure medication. The Bed Fund paid for a 30 day supply of medication. In the meantime, the social worker helped him to apply for a medication Patient Assistance Program and referred him to the medical assistance office.

The Bed Fund paid for a limited number of eye exams for our uninsured diabetic patients. If necessary, the social worker assists patients in locating organizations that provide free eye glasses.

The Bed Fund paid for a 30 day supply of diabetic medications for an uninsured patient which reduced her Emergency room visits.

The Bed Fund paid for pill boxes to give to patients to help them organize their multiple medications.

A 28-year-old man with diabetes was ill for one month before seeking medical treatment due to lack of health insurance and no income. The Bed Fund provided him with insulin and related supplies at discharge. Social Work has completed applications for pharmaceutical support programs for long term management.

The Bed Fund obtained bathroom grab bars to enable a 78-year-old woman with severe arthritis to safely function in the bathroom.

The Bed Fund provided a shower tub bench to an 80-year-old man with a stroke to allow him to bathe in the tub at home.


In Fiscal Year 2011, The Bed Fund helped 92 patients.


For more information, please call 412-784-4215.

Mission, Vision, and Values


St. Margaret Foundation Mission Statement
The mission of St. Margaret Foundation is to be a valued source of support for UPMC St. Margaret Hospital and the health and wellness of the communities it serves. St. Margaret Foundation is a 501(c)(3)organization that is further classified as a public charity under section 509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.

St. Margaret Foundation Vision
The communities we serve will be healthier places to live.

St. Margaret Foundation Values
1. Be ethical
2. Go above and beyond in everything
3. Prioritize for the big picture
4. Be visible, approachable and available to all constituents

St. Margaret Foundation Priorities
Criteria for St. Margaret Foundation Focus and Grant Requests:
1. Fundable programs will focus on filling in the gaps in the areas of:
   a. Patient access
   b. Patient education
   c. Patient experience
2. Funded programs will be congruous with fundraising initiatives.  The funded programs will also be something for which St. Margaret Foundation can fundraise thus communicating a unified message.
3. Programs will be clearly outside of what the general public may feel a profitable health system would provide.
4. Programs will be in line with the hospital's strategic initiatives.
5. Programs should bring awareness and brand equity to the Foundation whereby grant seekers present strategies to heighten this to gain further donor support.
6. Programs should produce measurable outcomes.
7. Programs will be rated on each of the above initiatives on a scale of 1 to 5.
8. Grant periods will be for one year and not over multiple years.

Click here to request a grant.



Case for Support

Mission Statement

The mission of St. Margaret Foundation is to be a valued source of support for UPMC St. Margaret and the health and wellness of the communities it serves.

St. Margaret Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that is further classified as a public charity under section 509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is autonomous of UPMC, supporting projects that are chosen by the board of directors. In today’s healthcare environment many patient needs cannot always be met with insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and self-payment alone. That’s where St. Margaret Foundation comes in – we “fill in the gaps with hope.”

Click here to see our Capabilities Brochure!

Strategic Focus – St. Margaret Foundation supports projects in three key areas:

  1. Patient Access
  2. Patient Education
  3. Patient Experience

 Examples of HOW we fill in the gaps with hope for the ill, underserved, and suffering:

  • Four shuttles for transportation to life saving chemotherapy and other treatments for patients who don't have any family or friends to drive them to the hospital.
  • Clothing and shoes for people whose clothes were destroyed as we saved their lives in the Emergency Room so they may leave the hospital with dignity.
  • A Patient Food Pantry so patients don't go home to an empty cupboard upon discharge and can have essential food staples at home to help in their healing.
  • Walkers and other medical devices for people who devices have broken and the allowable Medicare or insurance timeline is too far in the future.
  • Insulin for diabetics and other medication for patients who forgo the cost of their own health and medical needs to prioritize feeding their family.
  • And much more....


The UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Centers in Lawrenceville, Bloomfield-Garfield and New Kensington are supported by St. Margaret Foundation as roughly 56% of the patients are uninsured or underinsured. The Foundation helps to fund immunization shots, medication, transportation, food vouchers, nutrition education, crutches, thermometers, books for children, Teddy Bear Clinics, eye examinations for patients with diabetes, and other health care services.

The Oncology Fund supports unmet need for our cancer patients. Much of the time funds are needed for transportation for patients who are too ill to take the bus to their chemotherapy.

The Employee Emergency Fund provides to help employees who suffer a medical emergency or natural disaster last year by way of the Employee Emergency Fund.

Other Heavily Supported Funds Include: The Auxiliary Fund, The Nursing Education Fund, The School of Nursing Fund.

 "People are willing to gamble with their life so that they can feed their family. And it can end up costing them their ability to breathe on their own, their vision, their independence and ultimately their life. ~ Rod Rutkowski, Director of Health Management

Why fundraising for the patients at St. Margaret is important:

  1. Just as many people as ever do not have health insurance.
  2. If people work for companies that have fewer than the required number of employees for Affordable Care Act coverage their employer does not have to provide it.
  3. A company may give an employee a stipend for insurance which does not cover the full costs of care or cover the family. Some of these plans only cover 80% of costs. Therefore, many people do not seek regular medical care and end up with chronic diseases.
  4. Many insurance plans only cover 80% of care and the difference is too much for many people struggling with some of life's greatest challenges.
  5. Many people are opting to pay the penalty for not purchasing Affordable Care Act coverage because it is less than the coverage.
  6. Our elderly are neglected and in need. The St. Margaret Hospital service area, from Millvale/Etna along Route 28 to Freeport, holds a very elderly population. One in five people are over 65. There are 19 senior high rises in this area of which 16 are subsidized housing - below the federal poverty level. Imagine your grandparents not having healthcare.

What do your fundraising dollars support?

1. People who need medications: It is sad but true - many people cannot afford their life-saving medications like insulin, blood pressure medication, heart medication, or inhalers for COPD. So they ether take lower doses in hopes that the medication will last longer or they just don't have the prescriptions filled and their condition worsens. St. Margaret Foundation fills in the gaps with medication to keep people well.

2. People who need medical devices: If a senior citizen breaks her walker, cane, or other ambulatory device Medicare will not replace it for five years. Insurance and Medicare often do not cover special shoes, hearing aids, special glasses and more. St. Margaret Foundation fills in the gaps with many medical devices to keep people independent.

3. People who need transportation: Many insured and uninsured patients do not have transportation to their chemotherapy or other treatments. They are not able to drive, do not live on a bus line and are too sick to wait for a bus or Access. St. Margaret fills in the gap with four shuttles to insure that patients get to these life-saving treatments, testing and doctor's care.

4. People who need someone to follow up: Many people do not follow up on previously diagnosed conditions or neglect to have much needed procedures because they can't afford co-pays. St. Margaret Foundation fills in the gaps by providing care management professionals who go into nursing homes, community centers, churches, and senior high rises to make sure people are staying healthy. If at these screenings people find that their glucose levels or blood pressure are elevated they are more willing to see their doctor.

How does your support make a difference?

1. Jerry is a 65-year-old gentleman who had worked hard his whole life but had lost a leg to diabetes. Medicare paid for his prosthetic leg but would not pay for orthotic shoes that he needed with the leg. St. Margaret Foundation filled in the gap so that Jerry could stay independent and get around on his own.

2. Josephine was wheel chair bound, did not have insurance and was getting sores from always being in a seated position. St. Margaret Foundation provided a special cushion for her wheel chair and now the sores are gone.

3. David is a bariatric patient who needed to weigh himself every day as part of his treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. He hadn't been doing so because he could not afford the scale and his condition was worsening. St. Margaret Foundation provided the scale for him and his condition is improving.

4. Marian is an 82-year-old woman with arthritis who had fallen several times getting on and off the commode. She did not qualify for an elevated commode under Medicare. St. Margaret Foundation provided one which restored her dignity and confidence. She is now so grateful to be able to stay in her home.

5. Janice is 36-year-old diabetic and single mother of two who was reusing needles and not using her insulin regularly because of prioritizing other family needs first. At $600 a month, she neglected filling her insulin prescription and her vision was permanently failing. St. Margaret Foundation provided several months of insulin while the Care Management Department sought longer public assistance for her chronic condition. She is doing well today.

6. Randy lived alone and did not have anyone to stay with him after a much needed hip replacement surgery. The surgery could not be performed if he did not have someone with him. St. Margaret Foundation provided a chaperone from an agency to accompany him to the surgery, take him home and stay with him 24-hours until he was able to be independent. Now he is able to walk again.

7. Louise is a 51-year-old woman with cancer who did not have any mode of transportation to her chemotherapy – not even a friend who could take her. St. Margaret Foundation provided transportation so that she could receive all of her treatments. The hug she gave everyone in the office in gratitude reminded everyone why we do the work we do.

What happens if you don't help?

  • If you don't take your blood thinning medication you can have a stroke, leaving you with permanent paralysis, speech loss, physical disability, cognitive disability and even death.
  • If you reuse insulin needles to save money it can lead to cellulitis – inflammation that leads to a major infection. The treatment for this is long term IV antibiotics for six weeks and the need to be admitted to a nursing home.
  • If you don't take your insulin you can lose your sight, develop kidney disease, develop wounds that won't heal, need dialysis, need to have your arms or legs amputated and die young.
  • If you do not have a loved one at home to take care of you after surgery often you will not be able to have the surgery because the post-surgery care is so crucial. That surgery may be a life-saving procedure.
  • If you don't take your heart medication you can have a heart attack which could significantly alter your quality of life and you could die.
  • If you don't regularly use an inhaler that you need for asthma or COPD you can have an acute attack, not be able to breathe, lose consciousness and even die.

"We have people who only see their lives as far out as this month. They do not manage their lives for the future because they can barely manage financially day to day. If they can get to the end of the month they are happy. They neglect their health and their chronic conditions worsen. Then they have a crisis and the consequences are often irreversible."
~ Rod Rutkowski, Director of Health Management