Homegrown Goods Grow Hometown Pride

No doubt about it – Mariners Hospital helped weave the Tavernier community of the upper Florida Keys.  So it’s no surprise the 51-year-old hospital’s employees look out for the community in ways other than providing medical care to its residents.

Just drive past the hospital along U.S. 1 at mile marker 91.5 on Saturday, July 13, 8 a.m.-12 noon, and you’ll see evidence of the employees’ commitment to the community.  That’s because the hospital’s parking lot will transform into a farmers market with proceeds benefitting local school students in need.

Project Backpack, as the hospital calls this annual community fundraiser, enlists Mariners employees to stock the farmers market with homegrown produce and plants, homemade baked goods, and handmade jewelry and crafts.  All monies collected are split among several local schools to provide school supplies to students whose parents can’t afford items such as backpacks, notebooks, pencils and pens.

“We really enjoy working in and for the community,” said Sheila Konczewski, Project Backpack organizer and Mariners Hospital Marketing and Public Relations manager.  “The support of Keys’ residents has been great over the past four years with the various events we’ve done to support the schools.”

Last year, the hospital hosted a yard sale and generated $2,500 for community schools.

“Our employees really take pride in this event,” said Rick Freeburg, CEO of Mariners Hospital.  “Knowing that they are helping kids in our community adds an additional meaning to their commitment.  We are residents of this community, and we like to look out for our own, inside and outside of the hospital.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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