My grandpa Ed used to tell me stories about his time in World War II. A thankful story always stood out to me. It was the time he traveled via train from Illinois to California to leave for Pearl Harbor. This was an intense time filled with a lot of unknowns. He was supported by the women and children who gathered at the train stations, handing out pie and coffee. He was so thankful for their acts of kindness--their food nourished his body and their support nourished his spirit. He would laugh and say, they fed us during those 3-day train trips. I don't know what we would have done without them.
So, here we are in 2020. What is our place in history? How are we to help all of those who are working tirelessly to serve, protect, and heal patients? I was pondering these questions when an email came in from Harry Haney, Director of the Supply & Value Chain Center at Loyola University Chicago. He was asking for anyone with PPE to donate to hospitals. I dropped everything, and my daughter and I drew a sign to call our neighborhood into action. We started a "giving tree" in our yard. I have been overwhelmed with all the donations that have been placed at our tree! One neighbor even donated snacks! Later that evening, I saw on the news that the Sophy Hotel in Hyde Park had open their doors for complementary stays for nearly 80 nurses and doctors during this time! I thought, this is perfect! I can donate gift bags for the healthcare professionals to enjoy after they have work tirelessly all day saving patients and consoling the families of those who have left us.
And this led to Phase II.
We started making gift bags filled with coffee, tea, snacks, thank you cards, and drawings. Family, friends, and Coach Ashley and her UIC track and cross country team started designing beautiful cards of encouragement and thanks! Photos of the cards were emailed to me, so I could compile all of them. Social distancing at it's best! After all the tea, coffee, and PPE were donated to Mount Sinai Hospital and the Sophy Hotel, and care packages were sent across the country, we sat down to see what else we could do. Then emails came to ask for more.
And this led to Phase III
In addition to the above activities, we have now launched a collection of Hero Care Packages on our website. We include PPE, when we can. People are still looking around their homes for gloves, masks, and Chlorox wipes. I was cleaning out a drawer yesterday and found 2 masks. I've never been so thankful for finding masks!!
I'm so thankful for everything people are doing. It reminds me of my favorite poem
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know that one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.