- by Wendy Sullivan
Kay Kell heard a call to action when Gulf Coast hospital administrators spoke with concern about the stress of their health care workers at last week’s Gulf Coast Business Council. She immediately rallied her “troops” in a group text to seven of her friends – and the Care Packages to COVID Providers Project was created.
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Wendy McDonald explained, “at the testing and vaccination site, staff are working outdoors in the heat with no time to take a break due to the continuous line of patents. Small bottles of water, iced coffees and energy drinks are appreciated so staff can drink them on their way to the next car.” This is true for the units in the hospital also, since they, too, hydrate on the run.
A team member with a family working in Gulfport Memorial’s ICU reported that the staff finally has a small relief room. They can stop briefly to cry when they lose patients or feel overwhelmed and recharge before seeing the next patient struggling to survive. Tasty protein bars, candy and small bags of trail mix all become meals-on-the-go for these caregivers.
Rushing to and from work with long hours on their units, staff members also are appreciative of gift cards to places like Smoothie King, Starbucks, PJ’s, etc. They can pick up their meals in transit to and from work sites with limited contact.
Community members and students are also writing heartfelt messages of appreciation and compassion to include in the care packages. These replicate the campaign for first responders after 9/11, which were well received.
Michelle Allee donated prints of her Angel painting, “Vectoring Through the Storm,” to be put on each care package. A loving-kindness poem is included with each print. In the future, there may be framed prints raffled to support the project.
The Care Packages to COVID Providers Project teams are looking for community assistance in the following ways:
- Donations of:
- Small bottles of drinks
- Iced coffee or tea
- Healthy energy drinks
- Protein bars
- Small bags of snacks like trail mix
- Gift cards
- Notes of appreciation
- Volunteers to do any of the following for a week, one time or when available
- Additional team members or another team
- Assistance with
- Obtaining donations
- Organizing and packing boxes
- Writing notes
- Identifying and supporting additional facilities in need
Items above can be dropped off at these locations:
Hancock County Chamber of Commerce
100 South Beach Blvd. Suite A
Bay St. Louis (Main St entrance near the ATM machine)
M–F 9am – 5pm
Rosetti’s Liquor Barrel
998 Hwy 90
Bay St. Louis
M –Th 10am – 9pm, F – Sat 10am -10pm
(small items preferred due to space limitations)
Contact Kay Kell at Kay.Kell@yahoo.com to volunteer, arrange donation drop off or other questions about the project.
Finally, some of the Care Package team have family members serving on the COVID front lines. These health care providers have asked that the community give them the greatest gift of all: get vaccinated and wear a mask.
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