Owensboro Health employees support local nonprofits
Regional nonprofits also receive tons of food
By: Renee Beasley Jones, Messenger-Inquirer
The Owensboro Health Gives campaign recently donated more than $423,000 and tons of food to regional nonprofits.
Between Nov. 8 and Dec. 8, the health system’s local employees filled thousands of reusable grocery bags with 4.5 tons of food, not including 150 frozen turkeys and hams. Those food items, along with $14,795, went to the Help Office in Owensboro.
Angela Settle, Help Office executive director, came to OH Regional Hospital on Thursday for a ceremonial check passing and photo opportunity. The annual campaign means a great deal to the Help Office.
“We will be able to continue our mission of helping the less fortunate in our community with food from the food drive, and the check will support our other services,” Settle said.
As a rule, the annual OH food drive is the Help Office’s largest single donation of the year, excluding grants.
Each year, OH donates enough nonperishable food to last until April or May, Settle said. However, it may not last that long this year.
The Help Office recently increased the amount it gives clients at each visit, and the number of clients needing assistance continues to climb.
In January, the nonprofit provided food to 520 clients, she said. Of those, 207 were children.
For the most part, the $14,795 will be used to help clients secure and retain housing and assist with utility bills. OH employees raised most of that money by selling long-sleeved T-shirts.
“We’re a giving organization,” said Kelly Armour, OH director of employee engagement. “Our team members are in health care because that’s who they are... They care about our communities.”
OH Muhlenberg Community Hospital employees also got in on the fun. They donated 7,000 pounds of food and gave nearly $8,000 to the Hope to All Food Pantry in Drakesboro.
The OH Gives campaign is an outgrowth of the health system’s annual United Way campaign.
Employees give through payroll deductions all year, but they also stage silent auctions, grill hamburgers, host carnivals and sell hot chocolate, to name a few activities. The health system matches whatever employees give or raise.
United Way agencies across OH’s 15-county service area benefit, along with some health-related nonprofits. Employees also may choose to give to the OH Foundation, which provides a variety of services to patients and their families.
OH Gives is one of United Way of the Ohio Valley’s top five campaigns, said David Ross, executive director. He estimated more than 60 regional nonprofits will benefit from the health system’s donation.
“The people at the hospital have been great to work with over the years,” Ross said. “Their constant support is something we appreciate.”
OH employees try something new to raise money every year, he said. One year, they auctioned off parking spots.
“They have been very creative. It’s been a lot of fun to work with them on these campaigns,” Ross said.
Community-giving campaigns boost morale, said Doug Eberhart, executive vice president. “People are given a lot of ways to give back.”
With more than 4,300 employees, OH is the largest employer west of Louisville.
“We would love to be an example for other organizations,” Armour said. “We would be glad to help them get started (on giving campaigns).”
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, firstname.lastname@example.org