Not to put too fine a point on it, but nurses and other health care professionals are working hard, often to the point of mental and physical exhaustion, putting their own health at risk, as they do battle on the front lines of a coronavirus war.
There’s probably not a person who doesn’t appreciate their sacrifice and professionalism, but Lorilee Stearn, events manager for Paddy Whacks in Northeast Philly, is putting her appreciation into action.
Together with her family members—her husband, brother and three kids—she is putting together care packages for area nurses. Stearn, a local representative for a national health and wellness products firm, Arbonne, is putting together the ingredients for a refreshing respite, including energy and electrolyte hydration powders, packaged in little tubes, along with protein powder packs and protein bars. They seal them up in gallon-sized plastic bags, and they make them available to nurses from the surrounding area. Institutions so far include Pennsylvania Hospital, Jefferson-Torresdale, Cooper Echo Lab, Jefferson-Bucks, and the Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center.
“We’re just trying to keep their energy level sustained and still healthy at the same time,” she says. “So far, we’ve received amazing feedback from the hospitals we’ve sent the packages to.” Stearn has nurse friends, which is how she made the connections.
“I just contacted them to see if they’d be interested,” she says. “I reached out to them to see first if it was something they’d be interested in. And they all said, ‘Absolutely, please do’. Each unit told me how many bags they wanted. One person wanted 35, one wanted 20, one wanted 15, and so on.”
All of the first round of 90 bags went quickly. With contributions from the community and her own family, Stearn and her family are working on more.
Her project is part of a nationwide effort by Arbonne reps. “In our Zoom call the other day, I think we had 36 people on the call. There’s people in Ohio, people in Florida—people everywhere are doing it.”
Locally, Stearn is part of a team of Arbonne representatives who are undertaking the same project.
Stearn’s family, like so many others, is in stay-at-home mode. This project is also a way to pass the many hours indoors, working together on their small-scale assembly line. “We’re stuck in the house, so it gives us something to do, and everybody’s cooperative and everybody feels like they’re giving back,” she says. “It’s also a great community service project for my kids while we’re on lockdown, as you might call it.”
Stearn also stresses that none of this could be done without generous donations from the community.
For her part, recognizing the hard work of nurses seems like the right thing to do, and she knows nurses appreciate whatever help and recognition they can get.
“We just wanted to brighten their spirits,” Stearn says, “if nothing else. And there are so many people doing so many things to help out the nurses. So I think, just the community coming together and doing all types of good deeds, it’s just great.”
If you’d like to contribute to the project, you can do so via Venmo @lorilee-stearn.
Nursing units interested in receiving care packages can contact her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.