LOWVILLE — Little Lewis County, with a population of about 26,400 people, is known for being one big community in which people are quick to pull together to lend a hand, raise funds and pitch in during the most trying of circumstances.
Many individuals and organizations have kept that identity alive during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three months by rallying behind the staff and residents at the Lewis County Healthcare System and Residential Facility.
Shortly after the nursing home closed for visitors, the Hospital Foundation purchased four Kindle Fire tablets to help residents stay connected to their families and seven iPads were donated by the Baptist and Mennonite churches in the village, the St. Peter’s, St. Mary’s and St. Hedwig Catholic community and an anonymous donor soon thereafter.
And that was just the beginning.
“When COVID hit, everyone wanted to do something to help,” said Hospital Foundation Executive Director JoAnne Rhubart in the Health System’s first board meeting since March held on Thursday evening, “Everyone just felt like ‘What can we do to help?’... it’s the little things that make the difference.”
The entire hospital staff have been treated to pizza lunches and a spaghetti dinner among various other meals, ice cream sundaes and on Thursday, three large “Thank you” cakes that were broken down into individually wrapped pieces the staff could grab as they liked, according to hospital spokesperson Christina Flint.
One woman, Theresa Hoage, brought 350 cupcakes for the team.
Well-wishers didn’t stop at comfort food. Some churches provided pre-recorded services for nursing home residents while other donors came through with donations of hand sanitizer and hand cream, button head bands to take the face mask pressure off ears and many thank you notes and appreciation letters.
Various faith-based communities provided everything from encouraging and thankful notes and snacks to pre-recorded religious services for the nursing home residents.
More than 35 organizations, individuals, restaurants, stores, professional services, churches, banks, manufacturers, a school and a senior citizen community have done what they could to ensure the essential workers at the hospital knew their worth.
“Our community has truly exemplified their gratitude and appreciation for our community hospital,” said Gerald R. Cayer, Chief Executive Officer of the health care system in a statement.
And every day, Mrs. Flint said, the donations and acts of support and kindness continue.