Greater New Haven first responders saluted YNHH staff the evening of April 17, and the New Haven Police and Fire department unions delivered sandwiches.
From heart-shaped pizzas to PPE – YNHHS receives “incredible” community support
Serving our communities is an integral part of Yale New Haven Health’s mission. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, our communities have made it their mission to help YNHHS.
Individuals, businesses, schools and other organizations have donated meals for staff, equipment and supplies, and money to hospital development offices. They’ve also provided moral support, sending messages of encouragement and posting thank you notes on doors, sidewalks and social media. Within the first two weeks of its April 3 launch, YNHHS’ online kudo board – ynhhs.org/kudos – contained nearly 1,000 messages.
“The community’s response to this crisis has been incredible,” said Kyle Ballou, vice president, YNHHS Community and Government Relations. “It’s heartwarming.”
Pepe Vega, left, violence prevention outreach worker, and Monica Quisgard, community outreach educator, were among Injury Prevention department staff members who helped sort thousands of donated supplies at YNHHS’ Regional Operations Center.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) and more
Between March and mid-April, YNHHS received more than 650,000 donated PPE items to supplement purchased equipment.
“Donations included 41,000 N95 respirators, along with other types of face masks, gloves and tens of thousands of gowns and shoe covers,” said Lyn Salsgiver, vice president, YNHHS Community Health Equity.
Donors included Grace Farms Alliance Against COVID-19, a New Canaan-based nonprofit that secured more than 30,000 N95 respirators and numerous other PPE items for YNHHS. Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven donated nearly 500 N95 respirators to Yale New Haven Hospital.
“YNHH and the medical staff have been there as a partner to Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven, our families and the community we serve for the past 12 years,” said William Casey, Habitat executive director. “Anything we can do to help the hospital staff on the front lines is something we are happy to do.”
Individuals and organizations have also donated thousands of handmade cloth masks for patients, and some are using 3D printers to make masks and face shields.
The community is donating other needed resources to the health system. Gateway Community College, Sacred Heart University and the University of Bridgeport have loaned furniture from their clinical training programs for Bridgeport Hospital’s 32-bed hospital field tent for COVID-19 patients.
Farther north on I-95, Madison Country Club has “adopted” YNHH as part of ClubsHELP, a foundation created to connect golf clubs nationwide with local hospitals and provide critically needed supplies and other resources for health workers.
Dunkin’ Donuts stopped by both campuses in April to provide free coffee and snacks for staff.
Fuel for the fight
There’s an old saying that “an army marches on its stomach,” and the community has ensured that YNHHS employees fighting COVID-19 have the sustenance to battle on.
As of mid-April, more than 100 restaurants and groups had donated food to YNHH employees. Residents in several communities have donated money to local chapters of Frontline Foods, a national initiative to feed healthcare workers and support food businesses.
With fundraising events canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, YNHHS’ delivery networks’ development offices have established COVID-19 emergency funds. Donors have given hundreds of thousands of dollars, which are being used for everything from PPE and medical equipment to child care and laundry services for staff.
YNHH’s Office of Development used a crowd-funding program that allows people to set up fundraising pages and share them on social media or by email to help support special hospital initiatives for employee assistance and well-being.
“Every day, we are seeing amazing support from our neighbors, local restaurants and businesses and countless numbers of people who want to help us in any way they can,” said Marna Borgstrom, YNHHS CEO. “The power of community has never been more apparent.”