Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital, Stanley and Ascension Good Samaritan, Merrill, 2021 Community Benefit

Drive-Thru Events Provide Free Meal and a Flu Shot to Rural Communities

Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital in Merrill and Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Stanley play a vital role as Critical Access Hospitals serving rural communities in Wisconsin. 
Each year the facilities do their part to educate the community on the importance of getting an annual flu shot, which during the COVID-19 Pandemic was more important than ever. 
Health care providers throughout the country developed unique delivery mechanisms and for the people of Merrill and Stanley, a drive-thru event provided convenience and access for those who might not normally have access to a flu shot. 
Drive-thru events in each community provided nearly 250 free flu shots and a free meal to take home featuring beef tips and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, roll and dessert. Approximately 725 meals were delivered during the event. 
“Our associates are very dedicated to their community and this event represents our way of giving back during these times of hardship,” said Jonathon Matuszewski, chief administrative officer at Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital. 
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, in any given year, more than half of Wisconsinites fail to get a flu vaccine. 
“Getting a flu vaccination during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic is a critical proactive step people can take to protect themselves and the people around them,” added Matuszewski. “Anything we can do to reduce illnesses and hospitalization from the flu is critical to protect our community and health care workforce.” 
On August 1, hospitals and clinics of Ascension Wisconsin in central and northern Wisconsin became part of Aspirus.