Wednesday afternoon, the Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center Foundation hosted a Community Night Out event at the newly renovated Menard Outreach Center, located on the east side of the MGSHC campus.
According to Foundation president Jane Bentz, the event marks the culmination of a year-long process to create a “health campus” on the campus grounds, rather than just that of a health center.
“As part of our community needs assessment last year, we began looking for ways to impact the community and provide healthy opportunities to members of our local community,” she explains. “About that same time, St. Vincent de Paul was attempting to raise funds for a new roof (on the former Community Care Center building on West Main Street). Their efforts were unsuccessful and we offered them space at the Menard Building, which at that time was about 90% empty.”
Upon the arrival of the food pantry, the offices of St. Vincent of DePaul and the Merrill branch of the Community Action Program soon followed.
“These three entities work very closely together,” Bentz added. “We were more than happy to accomodate their needs.”
Through the remainder of last year, the local United Way chapter arrived at the building as well as Communidad Hispana and soon followed by Bridge Community Dental Clinic. Last month, the Eye Clinic of Wisconsin became the most recent tenant.
“We are delighted to have these services join us. Their close proximity has now created a health campus rather than just a hospital.” Bentz said.
“Our mission is to take care of all of our patient needs,” added MGSHC Director of Patient Care Jackie Frombach. “Thanks to these services joining us, our patients will now no longer have to make a choice between medication and food, or other similar difficult dilemmas patients may have faced in the past. We now have everything right here to assist our patients with any need they may have.”
Another valuable service Bentz personally provides at the new Menard Outreach Center, is that of hour-long cooking classes and food demonstrations, in conjunction with the Merrill Food Pantry.
“Every three months I hold various cooking classes and demonstrations for food pantry recipients,” Bentz explained. “These classes are free of charge and the goal of the classes are to help recipients learn to cook healthier and make healthier choices in their diets.”
As an added bonus, each participant leaves each class with an appliance of their own, based on the particular appliance Bentz had chosen for the basis of instruction – all courtesy of the MGSHC Foundation and it’s community centered focus.
To date, the foundation has sent participants home with nine different appliances including griddles, crock pots and electric fry pans.
The Menard Building was built in 1941 and most recently served as home to Merrill Child Care-opening in 1988 and closing in June of 2012. The building also housed an Occupational Health and Rehabilitation Center which was originally located inside MGSHC, and relocated to the Menard Building in 1996.
The center then relocated back to the hospital building last month.
According to Rachel Yaron, Vice President of Quality and Safety at Ministry St. Clares Hospital-Weston, additional space has recently become available in the Menard Outreach Center and the option exists for another prospective service/tenant.
Wednesday’s event included a range of activities including demonstrations, informational booths, light refreshments, basket raffles and an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a $1,000 grocery giveaway, to be drawn at the Kolor Run at Riverside Athletic Club on May 7.
Participants also took tours showcasing various programs and services offered at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center as well as the Menard Outreach Center.