Members of Gilford High School's Interact Club and the Gilford Rotary present items they collected to representatives from LRGHealthcare to go to babies born in the emergency department. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
December 05, 2018LACONIA — Babies born in Lakes Region General Hospital's emergency department will get some extra supplies and comfort items thanks to an effort by Gilford High School's Interact Club and community support.
For the past month, the Interact Club has had a table set up in the school lobby to collect baby items. The items from diapers and wipes to blankets and hats will be distributed to the LRGH emergency room, Caring for Kids, and Westside Pediatric.
Due to a budget shortfall, LRGHealthcare closed the labor and delivery department at LRGH. The nearest delivery room is now at Concord Hospital, though babies are still being delivered in the emergency department.
Jen Nunez, a nurse at LRGH and the Interact Club's liaison to the Gilford Rotary, suggested that the Interact students start this collection for babies born in the emergency room.
"I wanted to kind of get the kids involved in the community hospital," Nunez said.
The collection went on for around a month with students, staff members, parents, and community members contributing.
"We definitely got a lot more than I thought we would," said Interact president Shushu Sawyer.
A number of people also contributed handmade items such as knitted hats and blankets. They also got some help from the Huot Center.
"It really was such a nice collaborative effort," said Interact advisor Monica Sawyer.
Sawyer said she asks the kids what they are passionate about and encourages them to pursue them. She said she was really surprised by the response.
"Who doesn't like helping babies," Monica Sawyer said.
On Thursday the Interact Club delivered the items to LRGHealthcare.
Nunez said she is really proud of the students for what they accomplished. She said they collected a large number of items and the number of handmade items also make it even more special.
"I think it's really awesome that that many people came together to help a hospital," said Shushu Sawyer said.
LRGHealthcare president and CEO Kevin Donovan said this donation was "very generous" of the those who took part.
"I really appreciate the support of various Rotary Clubs of the community," Donovan said.
For the students, he added "I think it teaches them all the things that make thus community special."
Donovan said all these nontraditional items are really important.
"That extra little bit of caring is what really makes the difference," Donovan said.