Thrive by IU Health

February 18, 2021

‘Baskets of Cheer’ boost front-line teams

‘Baskets of Cheer’ boost front-line teams

During a stressful day, a quick cup of coffee or snack can make a big difference, especially when that day includes caring for patients in the middle of a pandemic. So, when Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Sparks, learned that for some IU Health team members, grabbing that quick coffee or snack isn’t always possible, she decided something had to be done.

That “something” became Baskets of Cheer: 60 collections of coffee, tea, cocoa, creamer and snacks delivered to Indy Suburban Region patient care teams during the week of Dec. 14. Supported by donors who gave to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, the baskets are designed not only to serve up some caffeine and treats, but also to send the message that team members are appreciated.

"This year has tested our teams in ways we never imagined," Sparks said. "For them to know that people care about them makes all the difference in the world."

It was during a conversation with a colleague that Sparks discovered that some teams did not have easy access to coffee during their shifts. While a few of the teams had Keurig coffeemaker machines nearby, others did not. And getting a snack often requires leaving a unit … which isn’t always possible now. “It tugged at my heart strings to think of our nurses as tired, sad and hungry,” Sparks said.

Those heart strings connected Sparks to the idea for the “Baskets of Cheer” that were delivered this month. In the baskets, quick-brew Keurig cups – and Keurig machines for units that needed them – were complemented by holiday treats, healthy snack bars and fruit snacks, creating a package that IU Health Foundation Gift Officer Michelle Leonard McConnell described as being filled with “simple things that feel warm and cozy right now.”

In addition to connecting Sparks to funding for the baskets, McConnell pitched in with hands-on help. Tapping into one of her favorite hobbies, she spent most of a recent Saturday crafting big bows to decorate the baskets. She also found volunteers to assemble and deliver the baskets.

“That, obviously, is what philanthropy is all about: time, talent and treasure,” McConnell said. “Because of donors to the IU Health Foundation and volunteers, we were able to provide some warm, festive comfort during this difficult time for our healthcare heroes.”

For donor Lynn Trott, assisting with the care baskets gave her an opportunity to show her gratitude to our local frontline workers. "In support of these heroes, the Basket of Cheer initiative recognized their unwavering commitment to patient care," Trott said. "As a donor and supporter of IU Health Foundation, this initiative was a chance for me to give back and say ‘Thank you’, not only for the exceptional care I’ve received as a patient over the years, but also for those individuals currently being treated in our hospitals."

Along with treating patients during the stress of the pandemic, Sparks noted, many of the caregivers are dealing with pandemic-related issues in their own families. That’s why even small gestures of appreciation – cards, notes, prayers, words of hope and, yes, a cup of coffee – can mean so much.

“I am confident donors to the IU Health Foundation would be proud to know they helped bring a little joy to folks who could really use some right now,” Sparks said.

    If you would like to help bring joy to our healthcare heroes, consider a gift today to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. Your contributions make a difference in the lives of our team members.

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