Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

'Penny war' at manor raises funds for Deshler nursing home in need


John Verser

Employees at the Kimball County Manor have been filling up jugs with pennies as a fundraiser for another Nebraska nursing home that was devastated by spring floods. Pictured, from left, are Melanie Casimiro, Patty Watson and Jennifer Greenwood holding some of the funds raised from the 'penny war.'

After spring floods devastated a nursing home in Deshler, employees at the Kimball County Manor turned to a 'penny war' as a fun way to help out.

May floods caused the evacuation of residents from the nursing home in the small town southeast of Grand Island, with a population of about 800. Although they have returned, there is much work to do.

Patty Watson, human resources official at the manor, said the floods caused about $250,000 worth of damage to the nursing home. Bev Schnell, manor administrator, said flood insurance is not available in the state, so the nursing home must pay the entire cost. She added that the flooding devastated the nursing home about a decade after a tornado caused major damage to the building.

Schnell said many members of the state's two nursing home associations have pitched in to help out. Some have donated funds directly, while others have raised funds through things such as bake sales. And in Kimball, there has been the 'penny war.'

Employees at the manor have been divided into four teams. The team that raises the most funds through pennies wins, but it is not quite that simple. Only pennies count, and members of other teams can stuff in nickels, dimes, dollars or more, and that subtracts from the total of the pennies.

Watson said the employees had so much fun with the contest fundraiser that the original deadline was extended. As of Tuesday, the jugs full of money are out for counting to determine a winner, but the winning team is not yet known.

"It isn't a lot, but it's a start. It's all we can do," Watson said. "They do have a fund set up for them at their bank and they're trying to do."

The winning team earns a pizza or sub party, depending on their preference.

"I think what's cool about it is, if it happened to us, they'd help us, too," Schnell said. "The nursing homes kind of get together, especially in the little towns, and everybody kind of helps."

"Our staff has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful. They've kind of got into the spirit," she added.


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