On Tuesday night, Shelley Elmes told her husband she’d be happy if the next day’s bake sale brought in $500. By 10:30 a.m., it had already brought in nearly $1,000.
Workers at NH Hospital held the bake sale Wednesday to raise money for Olivia Smith, the young daughter of nurse specialist and SEA member Susie Smith, who was seriously hurt in an accident.
While Olivia is making a miraculous recovery, the medical bills are a hefty burden on the young family. When organizers started planning the fundraiser, Smith’s co-workers quickly stepped up to help out. Not only that, workers at Glencliff Home offered to do their own bake sale the same day.
Elmes, an SEA board member, said she wasn’t surprised by the response.
“This is what we do: We take care of each other,” she said.
Elmes, who was manning the table with LPN and fellow SEA member Kim Harrington, said traffic by the table in the hospital’s lobby had been steady all morning. As she was talking, Nancy Parker, a chef at NH Hospital, brought in two trays of large whoopie pies, which illustrated another point:
“Food keeps coming!” Elmes said. “As fast as we can sell it, more comes in.”
Cheryl Towne, who organized the bake sale at Glencliff, said people from all over had offered to bake items for the event, though she had to direct some to NH Hospital.
“Quite a few people sent me emails saying they’d make something, but they were from Concord,” Towne said, noting that Glencliff is more than an hour away from the state’s capital. “I bet I got probably five or six different people. I was kind of surprised.”
Given the cause, everyone dropping by was in a generous mood.
“They’ve been saying, ‘here, I didn’t have time to bake,’“ and dropping money in the jar, Elmes said. “Or they spend $5, give $10 and say, ‘keep the change.’ “
Raymond Peek, who was manning the table in a tuxedo, said the response from the NH Hospital community wasn’t a surprise because “Susie is well loved.” But Peek was surprised by one response, from a woman who spoke with him Tuesday night on behalf of her 6-year-old son.
“She said she was employed at the prison and her son had heard about the bake sale,” Peek said. “He wanted to take $40 he was saving for an ATV and donate it. It was kind of touching a 6-year-old would think about that. He and his mom wound up baking together and contributing some baked goods to the sale.”
At Glencliff, Towne said staff didn’t have time to go to a centralized bake sale location, so she went to them.
“I loaded everything up on a cart, and went through all the floors,” Towne said.
Towne said the fundraiser provided a needed lift for staff and patients.
“It was a morale booster,” she said. “We’ll be able to send about $100 down from Glencliff.”
Elmes said the bake sale was a morale boost for her and other NH Hospital staff, too.
“By the end of the day, I felt more exhausted than if I had worked a normal shift, but it was a high from beginning to end,” she said. “It brought out so much good in people. Everyone was saying ‘we should do this more often.’ “
Elmes said that by the time the bake sale ended, they sold out of everything and raised $1,850. “It’s been a huge success,” she said.
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