Kagome tomato Pick-A-Box day raises record amount

By Anna McGuinness

Kagome's tomato picking day in February raised a record amount for Echuca Regional Health.

The annual Pick-A-Box day raised $4320 and Kagome chief executive Jason Fritsch surprised hospital staff ««on Friday»» by announcing the company would match the amount raised, bringing the total to more than $8500.

“We’re really appreciative of the ongoing community support, it’s a great cause,” Mr Fritsch said.

“People are getting healthy fruit but they’re also contributing to a great cause and we want to continue this on; it will be bigger and better next year, our goal is to reach $10 000.”

The money will be used to create support packs for the families of people with a palliative care patient who they look after at home.

“We look after about 100 families every year in the Campaspe Shire, we’ve got carers who are often really isolated and lonely, our main job is to look after the patients but we want to support their carers as well,” ERH nurse unit manager of community nursing services Kath Formica said.

“We’ve been doing this for a couple years now and putting together some support packs with things like coffee, tea, movie vouchers, hand creams — things like that,” she said.

“Ladies from the Uniting Church knit beautiful shawls that we give out to our carers that are often sitting next to people in cold chemotherapy units.

“It’s the beginning of what we hope is a really nice project that we can keep going.

“We’re based at ERH but our nurses travel all the way up to Cohuna and all the way down to Rushworth, so we cover Kyabram, Rochester, Tongala, everywhere in between.”

While the palliative care nurses visit once or twice a week, the carers at home are providing around-the-clock care and often they can’t leave their loved one, needing to be with them all the time.

“They do everything for their patients including administering medications, changing dressings and giving injections,” Ms Formica said.

“They can be quite lonely and isolated from everybody else so it will be lovely to provide them with some support at home for all the work they do for their loved ones.”

ERH chief executive Nick Bush said Kagome was a great supporter of the hospital.

“We’re very appreciative, it’s been about five years and it’s great support,” he said.

If any local businesses would like to contribute to the care packages, ERH would appreciate any contributions.