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Hospital Hospitality House looking to expand in Kalamazoo

A Kalamazoo organization that helps families in need is asking for some help of their own to build new facilities.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo organization that helps families in need is asking for some help of their own to build new facilities.

The Hospital Hospitality House of Southwest Michigan gives thousands of people each year a place to rest when their family is experiencing a medical crisis.

Think of it as our local Ronald McDonald house, but not just for families of small children.

Many people who find themselves with a loved one at Borgess or Bronson end up with no place to stay nearby. From moms with babies in the NICU, to those getting treatment themselves at the cancer center, the Hospital Hospitality House gives them a place to rest.

"Many people don't know about us or a place like this until you need it. And that's often after a very emotional or stressful time," said executive director, Judy Paget.

The Hospital Hospitality House operates in a 157 year old historic home. Guests have come from every county in Michigan, every state and even 22 countries around the world, all in a time of need.

"Got the frantic call that she needs to get here." said Susan Wagaman.

Larry and Susan Wagaman know what it's like to get the dreaded call that they have to get to the hospital. The couple from Athens has been staying here since January with their daughter, Jessica.

Jessica gave birth to a baby girl named lily 15 weeks premature. She weighed just 1 pound 5 ounces. For the last 5 weeks, they've sought refuge at HHH.

"It's just the mind, less anxious, less pressure less everything. We know if we get a phone call we can be there within 5 minutes," said the Wagamans.

But Hospital Hospitality House has problems of its own. With multiple sets of stairs and narrow hallways, not everyone can stay here.

"We turn people away daily because they physically cannot get into the house," said Paget. "When we turn people away it means they're going to be sleeping one more night on the recliner at the hospital, or in the waiting room or in their cars."

HHH is now turning to the community with their Two Houses One Heart campaign, hoping to raise enough money to build 2 new facilities, one by each hospital in Kalamazoo, so even more people can feel the love and support the home's staff provides

"What happens around the kitchen table that I think is most important is people swap stories and share. Support each other," said Paget.

The Hospital Hospitality House already has 3.4 million of their 4.8 million dollar goal to build the 2 new homes.

They hope to break ground on the first one near Borgess this spring, with both homes open by the end of next year.

For more information on how you can help, visit their website: http://hhhkz.org/index.php/capital-campaign/.

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