SGCMH Friends Foundation and partners make final delivery to COVID relief recipients


The Friends Foundation at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital has been pleased to support over 50 families in the community impacted by COVID-19 by providing food and hygiene items to them.

The Foundation, in partnership with Heavenly Hope and the Ste. Genevieve Nutrition Center, received a $7,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in July of this year.

The program was created to assist residents of Ste. Genevieve County who are suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19. Residents received nutritional foods (including shelf-stable items & fresh produce) for meals as well as hygiene products on a recurring basis. Organizers stretched the grant money as far as it would go and the final delivery of items to participants was Thursday, December 17.

Residents registered for the program or were referred by partners Heavenly Hope and the Ste. Genevieve Nutrition Center. Hospital directors also submitted applications on behalf of patients.

Holli Leadbetter, Friends Foundation director, said it was exciting to be able to do this for the community.

“It was pretty eye-opening to see the number of people struggling,” she said. “There were a lot of gap families who had never been low income or suffered before who, because of the pandemic, really took a hit to their family and their lifestyle. It was hard to see that huge transition in their life, as well as helping those who didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from. It was pretty great to be able to serve them.”

Ledbetter said she’s hoping to extend the life of the program.

“It may be that the Friends Foundation just provides referrals, but Heavenly Hope is wanting to continue to get these people served,” she said. “So our goal is to be able to assist them.”

Holli said it took a team of individuals on a regular basis to carry out the six-month long project. Mary Bleckler, Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital’s Community Champion; Beth Giesler and Laura Selby from Heavenly Hope; and Tina Winch from the Ste. Genevieve Nutrition Center all spearheaded the program.

“In our final delivery we were able to provide a Christmas ham and a full menu of side items so these families could have a nice Christmas dinner,” said Ledbetter. “We also included a Christmas card thanking them for letting us serve them for the last 6 months. It was a privilege to be a part of this project.”

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