Postdoctoral fellow at BC Women’s Hospital and WHRI member Moe Elgendi and his wife Halla Elmaboyad are spearheading an initiative to help boost morale during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pair created a Facebook group called Support Front-line Healthcare workers in BC COVID-19, which is being used to coordinate the collection and donation of items like coffee, food, and headbands that make the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) more comfortable. It also provides a space for healthcare workers to ask their communities for support and for organizations to crowdfund. To date, the group has almost 300 members and countless posts.
We asked Moe and Halla about this initiative and how interested parties can show their support:
What inspired you to do this?
When the initial state of emergency was declared, we were left feeling anxious and also felt a strong send of duty to somehow support those on the front-line. Halla started looking around for volunteer opportunities or groups, but couldn’t find any specific to BC. That’s when she came up with the idea to create the FB group, Support Front-line
Healthcare Workers in BC COVID-19, with the intention of it becoming a meeting point for everyday citizens and healthcare workers. Through this page, we wanted to offer support in the form of donations, service offers, or in any other form that the healthcare workers would need.
One of our initiatives is our GoFundMe campaign, to raise proceeds to deliver coffee and treats to hospital units across the health authorities. We heard from many loved ones that it has been very difficult to get coffee and food, especially on late shifts, and so we wanted to help with that need. We also wanted to help boost morale and spread some cheer.
To date, we have delivered to BC Women’s Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Burnaby Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, and Eagle Ridge Hospital.
Have any of the responses to the group surprised or stood out to you?
Yes! Three things actually stand out to us. Firstly, when we made a delivery to Burnaby Hospital PACU, the staff there wrote us a thank-you note and paid it forward with another donation. So amazing!!!
The second thing that stood out was the other initiatives that have grown on the page. Although we started with the GoFundMe campaign, we are now involved in helping coordinate and distribute PPE accessories (like headbands and head caps) to make wearing masks more comfortable. We’ve also facilitated the collection of N95 masks and baby monitors (used with patients in isolation) for a few units!
The third thing that stood out to us was the response from the local community. A Fresh Slice branch saw the work we are doing and partnered with us to donate pizza to a unit at BC Women’s Hospital, which was so very generous!
How can our community help?
Join the group and see if you can help out with any of the initiatives, or start your own. If you see a need for support with front-line healthcare workers that haven’t been addressed, post the idea and some of the members will definitely be eager to help out.
Do you have a call-to-action to share with our community?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have found there is a lot of misinformation and misdirected frustration targeted towards the reality of the pandemic and people on the front-line of healthcare. The call to action we ask for is for us all to continue supporting those on the front-line and recognize that 3 out of 4 healthcare workers are women. Thank a family member or friend who you know is risking their safety every day, and ask them how you can help, even with the smallest errand or task. Every ounce of their energy needs to be conserved.