Thanksgiving blessings nourish hearts and bodies



Winton Web

Generous donations help Riley Food Pantry deliver holiday meals to team members who need a boost this year.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist,

Riley Hospital social worker-turned-project coordinator Kat Winton is feeling thankful.

Thankful for friends, family, co-workers and supporters of Riley who have come through in a big way to put food on the table for Riley team members in need.

Helping to illustrate her passion for the project, Winton wheeled a shopping cart filled with 40 hams through a local Costco store last week, grateful for the donations that made it possible.

Those hams are destined to feed 40 team members and their families this Thanksgiving, a reality that fills Winton with gratitude.

“Wow, I am so thankful this holiday season for the ongoing support for our little food pantry at Riley Hospital,” she wrote in a Facebook post last week, accompanied by a picture of her with multiple boxes of hams.

Winton volunteered with fellow social worker Sarah Erotas to be redeployed in the hospital last spring to assist with IU Health’s response to COVID-19. That’s how they found themselves helping in a different way, this time by feeding many of the people they work with who were experiencing financial hardships.

The two stepped up to help organize a food pantry for Riley staff. Winton, who has transitioned into a new role as project coordinator, has been awed by the generosity of those who’ve supported the pantry, but never more than she was this week.

Thanks to generous donations, the pantry has received over 700 pounds of food items to be distributed prior to Thanksgiving, she said.

“One of my (many) goals is to continue serving our team members, while also expanding the pantry’s reach to Riley patients and families.”

Those who want to help can order food items shipped via the pantry’s Amazon wish list or make a financial donation to the Riley Children’s Foundation and designate it for the Riley Food Pantry.

The food pantry is also partnering with the Riley Rehab Department to collect new winter clothing for patients and families. Find out more here.