Hospital matches food donation

October 18, 2018

ELKO, Nevada  – When Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital provided free flu shots earlier this month, recipients were encouraged to bring a donation of non-perishable food. By the end of the day, the hospital had collected 1,862 pounds of food which was divided between three local food banks: Friends in Service Helping (FISH), Ruby Mountain Resource Center and the Battle-Born Veterans Club at Great Basin College.

“Our community really out-did themselves by donating so much food,” said Jennifer Koopman, director of physician relations at NNRH. “As a hospital staff, we wanted to join the community in their generosity, so we matched what they gave pound-for-pound.”

NNRH staff members filled up six shopping carts at Walmart and purchased the food. Then they met with representatives from the same three food banks to distribute the donation.

Sherry Smith, executive director of FISH, said that the donation will help her organization respond to increasing requests for assistance.

“Last year alone our food bank had 11,639 requests for food,” Smith stated. “Most of those needs are met by food donations from our community. When we receive such a generous donation it goes on to bless so many families.”

The Battle-Born Veterans Club at GBC also received a third of the donated food. Club advisor Tawny Crum explained that the group keeps a food pantry stocked not only for students who are veterans but for any student in need at GBC.

“If all of our efforts help one student not worry about where their next meal is coming from and allows them to focus on their academics, it’s worth it,” said Crum. “The Battle-Born Veterans Club thanks the community and NNRH for their generous donations.”

Rebecca Hepworth, executive director at Ruby Mountain Resource Center, echoed that sentiment of gratitude.

“We appreciate partnering with NNRH, FISH and GBC to help satisfy the hungry,” Hepworth said. “Ruby Mountain Resource Center will use [the donation] to provide emergency food bags to families and individuals in need in the greater Elko area.”

Surveying her pickup truck full of food outside Walmart, Koopman said it warmed her heart to know that these three community food banks would be well-stocked moving into the holiday season.

“If you do the math, between what the community gave and what NNRH matched, that’s over 3,700 pounds of food,” Koopman exclaimed. “It’s very rewarding to be part of something like that.”