Penny Pinchers Hometown Missions made sure De Queen Medical Center employees had a cheerful Christmas in 2018, when they visited and brought gifts of food, toys, shoes, clothes and other goods to the hospital on Dec. 19.
According to Gerald Burt, who oversaw the efforts, a member of the hospital staff put out a “heartfelt’ narrative of the situation at the medical center, which has caused workers to go without timely paychecks and rumors of its possible closure.
“It made us realize at Penny Pinchers Hometown Missions the importance of how important our hospital really is to our community,” Burt said in an email to the Bee. “We felt that it was important that not only we support our hospital with our words but also actions as well.”
Burt said they quickly organized a campaign to relieve some of the pressures from the hospital staff and let them know how much people in the community care.
“After all they were working at the hospital knowing the possibility of not being paid, yet they stuck it out because they knew how important their position was to our community,” Burt wrote.
Burt said they started by teaming up with Pizza Hut, which donated 19 pizzas to the medical center. The next morning they delivered donuts to the hospital employees, and that afternoon, Walmart manager Randy Stepp paid for lunch out of his own pocket.
“He knew the importance of what we were doing and could not see this being overlooked,” Burt said. That evening, McDonald’s “stepped up” and contributed to the night’s dinner.
The next day they teamed up with Temple of Praise church in De Queen, pitching in to make a “super lunch.” For dinner that afternoon, a church in Gillham provided them ample food from Subway.
Burt said that on Saturday, Mary Pops went all out, donating an ample amount of tacos, beans and rice, with extras like chips and dip “that looked as if they were feeding an army.” Pruett’s then made dinner for the hospital crew.
On Sunday Penny Pinchers Hometown Mission made homemade chicken salad for sandwiches and homemade chicken soup with vegetable snacks and dips to pick on throughout the day. The following Monday, Subway stepped in with three trays of sandwiches and La Media Lunas sent a dinner consisting of beef and chicken enchiladas with all the trimmings.
“As we know, the community has not stopped there and is continuing on what we started,” Burt said. “I have heard a couple of other companies have continued with feeding the De Queen Medical Center for their unselfish kindness to our community.”
He said that during the drive to lavish the town’s finest dining on the hospital staff, a deli clerk at Walmart gave them the idea of holding a toy drive, so they immediately set out to make it a success in a limited amount of time.
They posted on Facebook and got a lot of likes, shares and actual toys.
“A very awesome family called the Jordan, teamed up and brought 34 gifts for the toy drive,” Burt said. “Shortly after, The Union Missionary Baptist Church from Lockesburg donated a very generous amount of money and purchased gift cards because of the lack of time in getting specific toys.”
Burt said they only had one simple request — that the gift cards went to the most devastated of the families from the current situation.
“It was amazing to see the community come together to show their support for such a well-deserving group of heroes,” Burt said. “God bless them all and may we never forget how important they really are.”