Healthcare professionals and frontline workers are hard at work during our current health crisis. They’re facing new challenges as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Communities are stepping up to help however they can. In the past few weeks, individuals and organizations have done their part to show their support and take care of those workers on the front lines.

Donating Personal Protective Equipment

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 means taking extra precautionary measures. Health care workers are donning personal protective equipment like masks and eye protection, but many areas are facing shortages. These shortages affect not only hospitals, but other care organizations including home care, community health support, and assisted living facilities.

Operation Protect, an initiative launched by SafeCareBC, asks individuals and organizations to donate spare personal protective equipment like gloves, surgical masks, and hand sanitizer. So far, Operation Protect has received more than 300,000 units of protective equipment, which are distributed across the province based on need.

Two boxes of hand sanitizer refills from Parallel 49

A COVID Care Package from Parallel 49.

We’re personally grateful to community partners like Parallel 49 Brewing Company and Downtown Kia’s Community Support team, who delivered a COVID-19 care package to us! They donated several boxes of hand sanitizer refills, which made their way to the homes of some of the folks we support. Other Vancouver businesses have done the same, with breweries, distilleries, and even one hair product factory pivoting to make hand sanitizer.

All of this helps essential service workers to stay safe and care for those who are especially vulnerable at this time.

Taking Care of Frontline Workers

Organizations are stepping up in other ways to take care of frontline workers. Whether it’s helping workers to stay safe, shop for groceries, or just get some much-needed rest, they are making efforts to take care of the people who take care of the rest of us.

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Imagine working a long shift in a busy hospital, on your feet for hours at a time with no breaks, trying to provide the best possible care for COVID-19 patients. When you finally have a chance to rest between shifts, you have to choose between a thin plastic mattress, or a stretcher in the hospital hallway. This was the reality for frontline healthcare workers in the intensive and critical care units (ICU and CCU) at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Last week, we received an urgent plea for help from an anesthesiologist at the hospital. Their current situation needed to change, and we knew we could help. We are honoured to partner with St. Paul’s Hospital to donate enough mattresses, pillows, and mattress protectors to help their frontline healthcare workers get the sleep they need to fight for all of us—and win. Click the link in our bio to read more about our donation. #giveback #community #endy #bettertogether #frontline #covid19 #essentialservices #support #donation #corona #coronavirus #healthcare #canadian

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At Vancouver’s St. Paul’s hospital, the anesthesiology department were working additional night shifts to support their colleagues. Some staff had been sleeping on hospital stretchers to get by. The team reached out Endy, a Canadian mattress company. Endy responded by donating mattresses, pillows, and mattress protectors—enough to distribute to teams throughout the hospital.

This crisis has also led to some healthcare workers sleeping in their cars to avoid potentially bringing the virus home to their families. Hearing about nurses doing just that led Accent Inns to offer an all-time-low rate for Essential Services employees—and then the community got involved. They were flooded with offers from community members willing to cover the cost of accommodations. In partnership with the United Way of Greater Victoria, the BC hotel chain launched the Hotels for Frontline Workers program.

Expressing Gratitude & Support

One of the most heartening things to come out of this difficult situation is the show of community solidarity. By now, you’ve probably heard the sound of cheering, honking, and pot-banging each evening. At 7pm, to coincide with hospitals’ shift change, people show their appreciation for healthcare workers and essential services.

Another growing movement aims to spread the love and show community spirit. People are putting up hearts in their windows to brighten up their neighbourhoods. It’s a simple gesture to show appreciate for healthcare workers and solidarity with the everyone at home who is doing their part to “hold the line.”

It’s an important reminder that we are all in this together.

Do you have a story to share about beauty, joy, or resilience during this crisis? We would love to hear from you.