Posted by Jan Palmer
In early October I received a call from Margaret McIver asking if our club would consider raising money for two fridges for the medical ward family rooms at Hutt Hospital.
I suggested to Margaret that the nurses send me an email outlining their request and I received this email:
My name is Janene Lawrence, and I am the Clinical Nurse Manager in the Medical ward at the Hutt Hospital. I was given your email in the hope that as you are the Eastern Hutt Rotary President you may be able to help us here at the Medical Ward with a request. We have two tea and coffee bays, one at each end of the ward, for families and able patients to help themselves to a drink or for our staff to help those who need assistance, and we have two very old fridge/freezers that the milk, ice, supplement drinks and ice blocks are stored in, in these areas. The fridges are in disrepair state after many years of use, and they don’t comply with our Infection Control standards. They are no longer fit for purpose for our patients and their families to use and they are not something that the Hospital has funds to replace. Here in the Medical Ward we have high flow of in-patients admitted for treatment each year, all from the wider Hutt Valley region and beyond. So many patients and families are directly and hopefully positively affected by the care they will receive here during their stay with us. Would this be a project that your rotary club, including other clubs in the area, would come together to support - to replace the two old fridge/freezers with two new ones in the Medical Ward? Could you please share our request at your next club meeting and at the district meeting and ask if this is something that the Rotary clubs could help us to achieve? I have attached photos below of the old fridges and a few of our wonderful staff working in these areas. Your help would be very much appreciated by us all. Kind regards, Janene Lawrence Clinical Nurse Manager Medical Ward.
On investigation it appeared we would have to pay around $1,500 per fridge so I recommended to the board that we try and involve other rotary clubs in the Hutt to help fundraise for them.
At the network meeting of the Presidents on 29 October it was agreed that the clubs take on the project and it was agreed to run a fundraiser in February 2021 to raise the money for the fridges.  In late January after discussion with the other presidents it was agreed that we run a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (GWCTD) involving all the Hutt Valley rotary clubs in late February.
Very few clubs actually made plans to get involved and, in the meantime, I ascertained we could buy the fridges through Noel Leeming for $681 each. Ron Hunter then advised he could probably purchase them for $599 each (and they hadn’t fallen off the back of a truck!).  I then decided not to involve other clubs in the fundraiser and run the GWCTD amongst our club members only and invited Inner Wheel to be part of the fundraising event.  Their response was they would purchase one of the fridges from their trailer raffle proceeds instead of taking part in the GWCTD event. This was greatly appreciated.
On 25 March Ron installed the fridges into the medical ward and on 26 March a small morning tea was put on by the nurses and staff of the ward in appreciation.  Both fridges have plaques on them indicating they were donated by Eastern Hutt Rotary and Inner Wheel Club of Eastern Hutt.
I would like to thank Margaret McIver for raising the problem of the fridges with me, Ron Hunter for his amazing work and Inner Wheel for purchasing one of the fridges. I am pleased to see some of our club’s work being identified in the community. We do such a lot of work in the local community, but we largely keep it a secret.  Thanks also to everyone who hosted and attended the GWCTD to raise the funds.