CMC’s Healing Heart Committee donates 4,025-plus pounds of food to SENCA pantry

For the last several years, the Healing Heart Committee at CMC has held a tailgate challenge to provide donations to the SENCA food pantry. This past spring Mary Lunsford, who spearheads the food drive challenge at CMC, contacted our friends at Nemaha County Hospital in Auburn to see if they would like to join CMC in a fun inter-hospital challenge. Each hospital would provide donations to their local food pantry from Sept. 21 to Oct. 5. The ‘winner’ was to be determined by who collected the most pounds of food. Cash donations were counted as $1 equals one pound.
The true winners in the challenge were the food pantries in Falls City and Auburn. CMC donated 4,025.51 pounds and NCH donated 3,146.04 pounds when the total donations were tallied.  
NCH started out like gangbusters which provided incentive for the CMC employees to be creative with their donation process. Mrs. Lunsford provided a list of ‘theme’ days. One day was Soup-er Friday. Employees were to bring items for their favorite soups dishes. Change It Up asked employees to reach in their pockets, purses or cars for their spare change. Brighten Our Day asked for cleaning supplies such as laundry soap. Spa Day was the day to bring personal care items such as shampoo, deodorants etc. The last day was a Hail Mary day.
Two ideas really took off. One was to have a special jeans and T-shirt day. CEO Ryan Larsen granted special permission to employees who donated monetarily to wear both jeans and their favorite sports team T-shirts. This morphed into setting a donation goal to see the CEO wear a T-shirt and jeans at work all day.  (That never happens by the way.) Mr. Larsen provided additional incentive himself that if the ‘Have the CEO wear jeans AND a T-shirt’  goal was met,  he would allow himself to be pelted with water balloons by anyone who had donated to wear jeans and T-shirts. Once both of those goals were met,  Amy Behrends, Director of Organizational Development, challenged the staff to reach another goal and she would also wear jeans and a T-shirt plus get pelted with water balloons. With the opportunity to pelt the administration staff with water balloons, all the goals were reached with lightning speed. Mr. Larsen and Mrs. Behrends were successfully soaked by employees all for a worthy cause.  
The next idea was the Business Office’s Hail Mary Bake Sale and Silent Auction. They pulled together staff and volunteers to hold a very successful event which clearly put us over the top when the donation period ended. There was a large variety of home baked goods and canned items donated to the sale. There were four silent auction items, two Halloween-themed cakes, a fall goody basket and a KC Royals painted rock.
Helping and caring for people is something both CMC and NCH do each and every day within their facilities. The Food Pantry challenge allowed the administration and staff at both hospitals to help our friends and neighbors outside in the communities as well.

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