(Woodruff, WI) – Howard Young Medical Center (HYMC) received an Achievement Citation Award from the Catholic Hospital Association (CHA) for the Lakeland Pantry Health Care Outreach Program, as it continues its quest to feed the hungry in our community.
Each year, CHA's Achievement Citation recognizes an outstanding program or service that exemplifies the ministry's commitment to carry on Jesus' mission of compassion and healing. The Achievement Citation is given to a CHA-member organization that is the creator and lead sponsor or partner in an original, bold, innovative program that delivers measurable results for the community served. The recipient program is selected because it inspires the sponsoring organization, the people it serves and the broader community and beyond.
The Lakeland Pantry currently serves over 1,800 registered families and distributes to 450-500 families weekly. It provides its clients 14,000 - 16,000 pounds of food weekly. The recipient base is 40% children. Eligibility requirements are identical to those of the free/reduced lunch program at local schools.
Ninety-five percent of the food distributed weekly is purchased using funds donated by individuals, families, churches, businesses, and service organizations throughout the Lakeland community and beyond. The Lakeland Pantry raises 100% of its yearly funding through these community donations and yearly fundraisers. Using cost-effective purchasing, every $10 donation buys $50-$70 worth of food. A “Family in Crisis” fund is maintained to offer support to families or individuals who experience a sudden disaster.
”The objective of the Lakeland Pantry is to meet the health care needs of low income families in our community,” said Ministry Howard Young Health Care (MHYHC) president, Sheila Clough. “The pantry’s mission is to provide individuals and families with a dependable source of supplemental food, household, and hygiene products, plus offer programs designed to improve quality of life.”
Years ago, Clough attended a seminar led by a physician who set up a free clinic. He discussed the desire to take his skills to the people, and not to expect the people to come to him. He decided to take his services to the homeless and underserved of his community. The homeless’ and poor individuals’ trust was a vital asset to grow his services. In 2007, using his experience, Clough initiated the heath care outreach arm of the pantry and took Ministry Health Care services to the people.
An expectation of Ministry Health Care’s leaders is to be a volunteer presence to the poor in the communities we serve. A large number of the pantry’s volunteers are Ministry leaders who set an example to others by scheduling time in their lives to serve the community.
One of those leaders is Dawn Gapko, Howard Young Medical Center’s director of nursing. She is one of many Ministry employees who volunteer at the Lakeland Pantry, offering blood pressure checks for the clients. “This is a perfect opportunity to get out into our community and assist others,” said Gapko. “I realized that taking the clients’ blood pressure was just a small part of what I was doing for them. Each time I volunteer, I know I’ve made a positive difference and I find that very rewarding.”
Deb Karow, Howard Young Medical Center’s vice president of patient care services, also donates her time to the Lakeland Pantry offering blood pressure screenings. “I like to be involved because the food pantry serves those in need in our community,” she said. “The food pantry remembers to help the forgotten in our community. It’s great to work for a company whose mission statement is to help the poor in our community.”
Pantry clients have a voice in the services provided. A survey was conducted at the Lakeland Pantry and programs were implemented based on the results. Examples of those services include offering free blood pressure screenings, diabetes testing, smoking cessation, nutritional needs, age-related problems, and weight loss consultation. Dieticians assist by creating menus and recipes using the food products which are distributed that day. The diabetes educator gives tips to the clients on what distributed foods are helpful for their meal plans. Social workers assist clients, including some who are illiterate, to complete insurance and other forms, and assist in scheduling appointments and obtaining medications.
“The staff at Ministry Health Care has always been very supportive of the pantry and continues to bring outstanding medical services to our recipients, said Pam Winkelman, co-director of the Lakeland Pantry. “Numerous testimonials from our clients have solidified how important it is to offer these services to the people of our community.”
Periodic consultations are performed by the Tri County Abuse Center, WIC, and Pam Stevens, Ministry’s Community Care representative. Many service projects are coordinated with youth organizations. Vision evaluations are courtesy of Eye Care Associates and dental evaluations are courtesy of Northwoods Dental. Social Services of Oneida and Vilas Counties also offer services.
The Lakeland Pantry distribution/donation drop-off times are: Tuesdays from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. and alternate Thursdays from 3:30 - 6 p.m. Monetary donations can be sent to: Lakeland Food Pantry, c/o Howard Young Foundation, P.O. Box 470, Woodruff, WI 54568.
For more information, contact the Lakeland Pantry at 715.358.2222, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit lakelandpantry.com. The pantry is at 1707 Hwy 51 North, Arbor Vitae, Wis., 1/2 mile north of the Hwy. 51 and 70E intersection.