PICTURED AT LEFT: Staff from the Grande Ronde Hospital Regional Medical Clinic including (from left) Cammie Whitmore, Mandy Gridley, Marina Corrales, Dr. Betsey Neeley, Donna Louden, Dr. Susan Rice, Raquel Sellick and Angie Hibbert did their part to collect donations that helped push the total poundage for the Hospital’s Annual Employee Food Drive to more than two tons of food that were donated to two local food banks in November.
Grande Ronde Hospital employees collected more than two tons – yes that’s tons – of groceries for two local food banks in November.
Together, Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries and Shelter from the Storm received a total of 4,220 pounds of food, personal hygiene products and paper goods during the Hospital employees’ month-long, annual food drive.
When Hospital employees made one delivery of 1,920 pounds of food to Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries in mid-November, food bank coordinator Donna Fuhrman told them 435 people had requested food during the month of October, with 18 new families being added to their list.
Expressing her thanks to those delivering the food, Fuhrman said, "Never have we received so much from one organization. The employees of Grande Ronde Hospital should be proud of their accomplishment.”
Helping coordinate this year’s drive, hospital employee Shawn Tritchka says that as the donations poured in weekly, they continually exceeded everyone’s expectations. A common theme Tritchka heard from several employees was their sense of gratitude in being able to share.
“One department manager said several people on her staff know people who are unemployed and facing a rough holiday season,” she says. “It feels good to be able to put our feelings of concern into action.”
Grande Ronde Hospital’s Employee Food Drive is an annual event planned by employees who volunteer on the interdepartmental Employee Activities Committee. The drive has taken place every November for more than a decade.
“It’s been going on for as long as I’ve been here, and I’ve been here 10 years,” says Meredith Lair. As Employee Relations Manager, Lair chairs the committee.
Over the years the drive has taken many different forms and had many recipients, says Lair. This year, the team chose two food banks known for making a big impact right here at home. It was important to all members of the committee that the contributions stayed in Union County.
“Shelter from the Storm’s food bank may be small, but their service area reaches across the valley. And one of the great things about Neighbor to Neighbor is that they share with a lot of other local food banks. We knew these two groups would be good choices for helping all of Union County,” says Lair.
When planning for the drive began in September, Lair says the committee was excited to try something new involving a little healthy competition and some team work. Previous food drives had been based upon individual employee contributions, but the new idea was to pair smaller departments together into one team and split larger departments into multiple teams, giving each team lists of items to contribute.
Members of the team completing the most lists will have the honor of advancing to the front of the line during the Hospital employee’s holiday buffet. Lair believes the new format contributed to the success of this year’s drive.
“I think the camaraderie among the teams – and the good natured competition – helped created something special. It was really inspiring to see every team working together like that for our community,” Lair says.