Every day, members of our community are stepping up to help ensure that our health care workforce has the resources needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
From hand sanitizer to meals and snacks, we’re proud to share a few recent stories of community members, businesses and entrepreneurs whose generous gifts are fueling OHSU’s health care heroes.
From spirits to sanitizer
With organizations across the world struggling to access hand sanitizer as the novel coronavirus spread, Rose City Distilling quickly pivoted their production from gin and vodka to hand sanitizer.
Since late March, the distillery has produced and donated more than 5,000 pint-sized bottles to health care workers and first responders — including more than 10 gallons donated to the Knight Cancer Institute.
“I’m a chemo-pal volunteer for the Children’s Cancer Association, which works closely with Doernbecher, and am mentoring a 15-year-old with Ewing’s Sarcoma,” said COO Cam Werschkul. “Making a donation to the folks at the Knight Cancer Institute was a no-brainer given they are working diligently to find a cure for what I’ve seen with my own eyes is an awful, awful disease.”
“The pivot to manufacturing and donating hand sanitizer has been the single most rewarding professional experience for everyone on the Rose City Distilling team."
Rose City Distilling has donated to more than 10 health care and first responder organizations across the Portland metro region, with the promise from Werschkul and President of Rose City Distilling John Ufford to supply the Knight Cancer Institute with as much sanitizer as they need moving forward.
“The pivot to manufacturing and donating hand sanitizer has been the single most rewarding professional experience for everyone on the Rose City Distilling team,” Werschkul said.
Burnout among health care workers was on the rise nationwide before COVID-19. As the virus intensified in the United States, California-based nonprofit Sufi Psychology launched its Caring for Our Caregivers initiative, providing health care workers with easily accessible wellness sessions in the midst of chaos.
“When we saw what was happening with the COVID crisis, we knew our frontline heroes would have less structure to their time and an unimaginable amount of stress,” said Saloumeh Bozorgzadeh, PsyD, president of Sufi Psychology. “We couldn't sit by idly when we knew we had something that helps and can be done on each person's time.”
“We couldn't sit by idly when we knew we had something that helps and can be done on each person's time.”
Sufi Psychology donated several iPad tablets and a box of disposable wrapped headphones for OHSU’s respite rooms, where staff could use the guided meditations on their own time. The intent is to decrease burnout and stress and help them do better at their important — and oftentimes emotionally heavy — jobs.
Since April, Sufi Psychology has donated to more than 100 hospitals in 15 states and the United Kingdom.
Fueling with food
A cup of coffee, meals and snacks can go a long way in fueling health care workers during difficult times.
Dutch Bros. supported the hardworking medical workers at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute community clinics by donating cold brew coffee and $5 gift cards. Dutch Bros. and their foundation, Love Abounds, has donated more than $1.6 million to OHSU and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital over the last 5 years.
Former patient Jimmy Li was treated at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for brain cancer as a teenager. Now 20, Jimmy and his family donated 200 meals from Powell’s Seafood Restaurant to the team at Doernbecher. The donation was made on behalf of the Oregon Chinese American community. “Doernbecher holds a special place in my heart,” Jimmy said. “In my eyes, the doctors and nurses are heroes.”
These are just a small sampling of the generous contributions that businesses, families and individuals have made in support of OHSU frontline heroes since the pandemic began.
Top photo: Stephanie Opperud of OHSU brings donated food from Magna Kusina to staff at OHSU, April, 2, 2020. The meals, organized through Frontline Foods, are single-servings aimed to support health care workers in the hospital. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)