Big Momma's House

Bingham Memorial Hospital donated $5,000 to Big Momma's House on Friday. From left, Mark Baker, Bingham Memorial Hospital director of marketing and public relations; Gil Judkins, realtor; Jacqualine Thomas, pastor of Praise Temple of God church; Alessandra Toscanelli, board member of Big Momma's House; Kevin England, mayor of Chubbuck; and Paul Guisande, community member.

POCATELLO — Jacqualine Thomas was holding back tears.

On Friday morning, Thomas, pastor of Praise Temple of God church in Pocatello, received a $5,000 check from Bingham Memorial Hospital to put toward Big Momma’s House, a faith-based homeless shelter in Pocatello.

But that check wasn’t the only good news Thomas heard.

“We want to make sure we’re contributing on a regular basis to Big Momma’s House for the homeless,” said Mark Baker, director of marketing and public relations at Bingham Memorial Hospital.

“This is just the start of getting things going in a small way for the bigger things that you’re doing.”

Thomas had no words. So she embraced Baker in a tight hug.

“You’re doing great things,” Baker said.

“Thank you so much,” Thomas replied.

It was less than two weeks ago Thomas was praying for a miracle. She faced a Jan. 28 deadline to secure a $30,000 down payment on an existing home at 916 E. Sublette Street in Pocatello. At that time, she’d accrued just $7,000.

That was when Pocatello kidney doctor Naeem Rahim called Thomas on Christmas Eve to say he would donate the $23,000 needed to meet the minimum down payment. Spurred by Rahim’s generosity, Bingham Memorial Hospital CEO Jeff Daniel decided he wanted to help, too.

“At BMH, we strongly believe in compassion, too, and providing compassionate care in everything we do,” Daniel said. “Our vision statement is, ‘High quality. High compassion,’ and making this donation exemplifies how compassion can extend beyond the walls of our medical facilities and into the community. Similar to pastor Thomas, I believe that sincere compassion drives the highest skill and quality of care and that true healing only occurs when compassion is part of the cure.”

Big Momma’s House is a nonprofit organization that supports a substance-free lifestyle. Its aim is to provide permanent housing solutions and self-sustainability attained through employment, education and counseling.

With the latest donation from Bingham Memorial Hospital, Thomas has faith her vision for Big Momma’s House will continue to come together.

“I think that God has touched each individual’s heart,” Thomas said. “It’s saying to me that we are a caring, loving community, and we want to do something for our homeless individuals. … I really see a movement of God throughout this community.”