Local Walmart Distribution Center Helps in COVID-19 Surge Preparation for Sierra View Medical Center

The anticipated surge of in-patients at Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) urged the Director of Food and Nutrition Services to find a way to store enough food to meet Governor Newsom’s surge plan of a 40% increase over regular capacity. After checking with several vendors in search for a refrigerated (reefer) truck to provide for the 40% increase (approximately 68 more beds), local Walmart Distribution Center came through and had a truck to the hospital in record time.

In working with Zaelin Stringham, SVMC Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Todd Hirte, SVMC Financial Strategy and Contracts Administrator made the phone call that lead to an unexpected generosity from Porterville’s Walmart Distribution Center. This week, a 26 foot commercial refrigerated trailer, much larger than what was needed, was dropped off to store food that would accommodate an anticipated influx of in-patients without charging the hospital for the service.

“We want to do everything we can to help our local healthcare right now,” said Walmart Distribution Center, General Manager, Kent Delperdang. “We appreciate all the hard work and acknowledge that it’s a tough and critical job for those on the font-lines and we’re happy to help out wherever possible.”

Because the distribution center in Porterville doesn’t hold cold products, it’s very rare to have a refrigerated trailer on site locally, so Kent worked with their transportation team that sent Walmart drivers to the grocery distribution center in Arizona to retrieve the trailer. The trailer was dropped off at Sierra View to utilize for as long as it is needed.

“The provision of the reefer trailer will be critical to our ability to store frozen food in anticipation of the increase in COVID-19 cases over the next four to six weeks, said Donna Hefner SVMC Chief Executive Officer/President. “We thank WalMart Inc. and our local Distribution Center for their generosity to assist in our efforts to provide our patients and the Porterville community during this challenging time.”