Frontline healthcare workers are facing overwhelming challenges as COVID-19 cases skyrocket, with many hospitals above the peak capacity they saw during the darkest days of spring.
But now you can “adopt” a hero and sign up to send a care package to a nurse or healthcare worker. ICU nurse Kelsey Langel is one of hundreds receiving gifts from strangers as part of a new Facebook campaign.
“There’s a soap, a lotion and a lip balm,” she said of the package she received.
The nurse said that after caring for a COVID-19 patient, someone related to that patient tracked her down and asked her to provide a wish list of gifts that could provide some holiday cheer.
Soon after, Langel received a thoughtful array of presents.
“She felt it in her heart to reach out and adopt me,” Langel said. “It’s very humbling.”
Nurses and health care workers across the U.S. are now taking to social media to share the surprise gift bundles they have received.
“I came home from my fourth, 12-hour shift in a row to this amazing gift package,” surprised frontline worker Stephanie Healey said. “Your generosity has blown me away. I hope you realize how much this means.”
Another frontline worker named Alexandria posted online: “I have had a rough week. I was in NE the last 6 days and during that time my family had to make a hard decision to let my dad pass. I just got home tonight from helping my family with funeral plans and laying my dad to rest. What a great thing to come home to!”
Christine Danderand, who started the program to “adopt” a healthcare worker, decided she wanted to help after seeing the stress felt by her own mom, a registered nurse in Nebraska who works directly with hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
“Many of these nurses don’t have a chance to sit down when they are working,” she said. “They want new shoes, compression socks for swelling. Gift cards for fast food, on their way home from their shift. They don’t have time to eat at work.”
So Danderand, who, along with her husband and daughter, battled COVID-19 earlier this year, started a Facebook page where she thought a few dozen friends and family members could sign up to fulfill Amazon wish lists made by her mom's colleagues. Not only did Danderand’s family and friends join in, but hundreds of others did as well, creating a full-fledged movement.
“It’s pretty incredible,” she said.