Ruth and John Strunk were known by many Ascension Via Christi associates as the west-Wichita couple who sold all but 40 acres of their third-generation family farm to Via Christi to make close-to-home medical care available to their friends and neighbors. This land is now the site of Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa, west Wichita’s only full-service hospital.
After the Strunks’ passing — Ruth on Nov. 23, 2018, and John in June 2017 — hospital staff and leadership wanted to honor the couple’s generosity and spirit. Because the Strunk family had requested that memorial tributes be directed to the Lord’s Diner and Kansas Food Bank, Robyn Chadwick, the hospital’s vice president, and Maralee Travis, her executive assistant, put together an on-site food drive.
“St. Teresa has a lot of people who live on the west side who choose Via Christi’s care and love the Strunks,” says Chadwick.
The items were collected at St. Teresa and associates, patients and community members consistently brought in donations for the Kansas Food Bank throughout December. In all, nearly 600 pounds of food was donated to the Food Bank, which in turn serves families who might otherwise go hungry.
“We weren’t able to capture all the signatures of the donors, but the food just poured in,” says Travis.
Chadwick was impressed with both the amount of food donated and the number of employees who participated in the drive.
“A lot of the food was donated by associates and that was exciting to see,” says Chadwick. “What a great way for all the associates serving at St. Teresa to honor the memory of such a wonderful couple!”