Reaching out to hospital staff

Gift bag: One of the gift bags assembled by volunteers at St Mary, Nanoose Bay and distributed to health care workers at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital ICU. Photo by Selinde Krayenhoff.
Gift bag: One of the gift bags assembled by volunteers at St Mary, Nanoose Bay and distributed to health care workers at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital ICU. Photo by Selinde Krayenhoff.
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St Mary, Nanoose Bay sends gift bags to Nanaimo ICU

After hearing reports from two different parishioners of seeing staff break down in tears outside the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Selinde Krayenhoff, incumbent at St Mary, Nanoose Bay, posed a question to the parish council: “So many of us here have received care and support from those staff in the past. What can we do to show our support now for these overworked, underappreciated staff?” A change

The parish council decided to put together little bags of goodies with a “bookmark” message. When the idea was run by Marysia, a spiritual health practitioner at the hospital, her response was enthusiastic. “Yes!” she said, “This is exactly what the staff need at this time — a boost, some positive feedback.” Off the top, she thought there might be 25 staff in the unit. But when she checked with the unit manager, the answer was “125.” A tall order!

When the idea was proposed to the parish gathered on a Sunday, the response was similarly enthusiastic. Over $400 was raised in a couple of days. Mary Holte, the parish council volunteer lead, did the shopping and with three others filled the 125 little treat bags with chocolate, tea, instant coffee, mandarins, cookies and granola bars. A bookmark threaded through the ribbon that tied the treat bag closed, read:

Many of us at St. Mary’s have showed up at your door for medical support and treatment. We are keenly aware of the stress you are under during this pandemic and we’re concerned that you haven’t heard a balancing voice in these past months. We want to take the opportunity NOW to let you know how much we appreciate your dedication to caring for those with COVID-19 and their families. We realize you put yourselves at risk and that the strain is enormous. To that end, we want to make a little difference and lift the load if even just a tiny, tiny bit. So, we say: THANK YOU. FOR ALL YOU DO. We’re praying and rooting for you from the shores of Nanoose Bay. Stay well and know that we notice what you are doing for our friends and family, our community, and our province.

Selinde delivered three big boxes to the hospital and the same day received a message from Kelly McColm, a registered nurse and manager of the ICU: “Marysia kindly delivered the treats from St Mary’s to our critical care teams today. Please accept and share our thanks and gratitude for this. It is a nice morale booster for our teams and we really appreciate this kind gesture. Thank you.”

Selinde would like to encourage other churches to consider offering a gesture of thanks and gratitude to their local hospital or health clinic and is happy to support and collaborate with other parishes.

Author

  • Naomi is the Editor of Faith Tides and writes creative non-fiction with a focus on nature, the environment, sense of place and parenting.