Volunteers from across Regional One Health came together on Dec. 13 to pack 10,000 meals for the Mid-South Food Bank to distribute to families in need in the Memphis area.
This is the fourth year Regional One Health has held the food-packing event in partnership with Outreach for Kids and the Mid-South Food Bank.
“Being part of a health care organization that tends to the needs of many in Memphis, it’s a natural fit for us,” said Angela Hughes, manager of community affairs and engagement for Regional One Health. “By doing a program like this we allow our employees an opportunity to give back to the community.”
Eighty-five volunteers came from across the hospital, touching a range of departments. Nurses stood next to executives, interns, IT staff and others as they worked in coordinated teams that took pasta grains from boxes, measured, sorted, filled and sealed bags, applied package labels and refilled boxes, all in a festive spirit. No, the six tables didn’t “officially” compete, but a good-natured competitive spirit was obvious as volunteers would yell out “box” when a new package was filled with meals.
Melanie Wood is a nurse manager in Trauma Step Down. This was her first time to participate in the food-packing event, but instead of joining the effort alone she was one of a group of 10 from her area.
“It’s an opportunity to care for the community and also work as a team-bonding experience,” she said. “We get to meet with other departments and meet new people.”
Sabrina Jones is an IT manager who has participated all four years. She volunteers with a homeless ministry through her church and said it’s important to get involved in the community any way she can.
“People need us,” Jones said. “Our community has people who can’t do for themselves and this is just a way to do our part to serve.”
That serving mentality aligns with the health care profession for many at Regional One Health.
“It’s part of the mission of a hospital to take care of the community,” said Lisa Mantaro, manager of rehab services. “We’re here to take care of patients and the community.”
Volunteers prepared and packed 10,002 meals in less than an hour. It’s just one way Regional One Health employees give back at the holidays. Another annual event is Team Max-Soulful Memphis Operation Christmas Basket on Dec. 16 when Regional One Health volunteers will join others from the community to assemble several thousand food baskets for people in need in the community.
“In the summer you may not see as many people who are in need but in the winter you see it. Hunger is a real need in our community and it’s important to help families have a meal at Christmas,” Hughes said. “This isn’t just coming to work every day and doing a job. You do your job but you’re also part of the community. I love that our organization encourages employees to give back like this. On its surface it’s simple but the impact is huge that our employees can make such an important impact.”