Ursuline Sisters receive hospital grant to buy exercise equipment

Sister Amelia Stenger, director of development, poses with Jeff Barber, administrator of Owensboro Medical Health System, after the press conference on Friday, Sept. 9.

The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph will receive more than $4,000 through a grant program from Owensboro Medical Health System to purchase new exercise equipment for the sisters.

During an announcement on Sept. 9, the Ursuline Sisters learned they would receive $4,555.98 for a fitness and nutrition project for the targeted senior population. The hospital gave out $480,177 for health and fitness projects and another $145,000 for arts and cultural organizations through its Community Benefit Grants program. The money supports 54 programs for 49 organizations in the 11-county region served by the hospital.

“We are committed to supporting nonprofit community organizations and public entities whose charitable purposes align with our mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of our community,” said Debbie Zuerner Johnson, manager of community outreach. “In addition to providing health care services, OMHS recognizes that there are a number of agencies and organizations in our region which can make a significant impact on community health.”

Sister Amelia Stenger, director of development for the Ursuline Sisters, wrote the grant proposal and represented the community during the grant announcement.

“We’ll use the money to buy two treadmills, two stationary bicycles and one tread climber,” Sister Amelia said. As part of “Project: Sisters Stay Active,” 20 sisters who live at the Motherhouse have agreed to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time, or a total of 90 minutes a week, Sister Amelia said.

The one-year program will begin in January, when it’s difficult for sisters to exercise outside. At the beginning, each sister will have her blood pressure, weight and body mass index measured, and those same indicators will be retested every four months, Sister Amelia said.

“What we hope will happen is someone will be able to talk to the sisters about nutrition and encourage them to continue,” Sister Amelia said. “The more we’re active, the less we’re ‘attending’ the hospital. The sisters are excited about it.”

Sister Amelia submitted the dollar amount based on pricing she found online. The money should arrive by the end of September and equipment will be ordered then. The equipment will replace some dated exercise machinery.

The hospital’s Community Benefit Grants program is open to nonprofit organizations that provide plans for specific programs and services addressing identified community health needs. To qualify, activities must provide measurable improvement in health status, access to care, or use of healthcare resources.