Appreciating Healthcare Workers during the COVID-19 Crisis

By Christina M. ’23 and Katya A. ’23

How well do you think you’ve been coping with this unfamiliar and frankly terrifying outbreak of COVID-19? Have you been feeling scared out of your mind as to what might happen next, either to you, or your friends and loved ones? Despite all these fears we may have, we often don’t even stop to think about the pain and suffering experienced by those outside of our immediate circle. 

Although all of us may be feeling a little unsure as to what the future holds, we can and should use this time to appreciate the things we do have that others may not, whether that is a job, easy access to food, an education, or something as simple as health.

Ever since the outbreak of this virus, people have not hesitated to take action in whatever ways they can to help those in need. For example, every night at 7 p.m., residents in New York City “salute” the city’s health care workers with cheering and the clattering of pots and pans. Windows fly open throughout the streets while entire families pile onto their fire escapes. Families do anything to get the workers’ attention and show how appreciative they all are. The boisterous cheering and clapping occur for about three to five minutes, but even such a little gesture truly heartens essential health-care workers. People have made countless other gestures throughout this crisis. For example, four F-15 fighter jets from the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard flew over hospitals across Massachusetts on May 6 to show appreciation to healthcare workers on the front lines. The jets flew over hospitals stretching from Cape Cod to Springfield, and the experience was greatly appreciated by many of the workers. Lt. Col. Jay Talbert, 104th Fighter Wing pilot, who passionately stated, “It’s a privilege for the men and women of the Massachusetts Air National Guard to provide a thank you to medical personnel, first responders, truck drivers, and grocery store personnel.”

Not only are communities outside of Winsor taking action, but some of our very own students have been spending their time in quarantine helping healthcare workers. 

Every day, Reah Donohue ’21 picks up food from local restaurants and bakeries and delivers it to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Traditionally, the doctors have a snack every night to help them get through their long shifts. However, because of COVID-19, they have been extremely busy and overworked. They struggle to find time to buy these snacks, so Reah provides them. Additionally, every Friday, she supplies dinner to doctors at Franciscans’ Children’s Hospital. Donahue started a GoFundMe to which people have been donating money for snacks, such as donuts, sushi, brownies, cookies, muffins, bagels, and tacos. These snacks have been highly appreciated by doctors who have been writing thank you notes expressing their gratitude for her work. She commented in an interview that “it’s crazy how something so small and simple can make such a huge impact on someone and just make their day.” Unsurprisingly, Donahue will continue to aid healthcare workers after quarantine because “in the end, everyone’s happy!”

Students are not only partaking in projects directed towards health care workers, but they are also helping the youth of our country thrive throughout this uncertain time. At the beginning of this pandemic, Tina Gong ’20 created a project to raise money for Massachusetts General Hospital by hosting web seminars regarding various standardized test-taking techniques. She hosted a total of seven sessions in which they discussed the SAT, subject tests, and AP exams. Tina asked for donations, which were not required, at every session in order to raise money for the hospital.

 To keep the sessions interesting and distinctive, Gong invited several classmates to assist her in the sessions. Crystal Yang ’20 attended a handful of subject test sessions in which she discussed her experience with the assessments and shared knowledge that she had acquired over the years. Gong stated that she found this to be an “easy way to get involved in relief efforts” as it almost “felt natural.” The tutors that participated found that by engaging in this project they could spread their knowledge in a positive way and therefore help all kinds of people in this time of crisis. Gong and Yang hope to continue to help fellow students once they are in college in projects similar to this one. 

Let’s continue to make a difference! Here’s what you can do to help.

  • Look for ways to help people in your community who are struggling financially by searching on social media, crowdfunding sites, or Google for local funds.
  • Donate to local food banks in your area to assist families in need. The Greater Boston Food Bank is a great option. 
  • Check-in on your friends and family members by sending them a letter or giving them a phone call.
  • Join online communities to provide companionship to people who are alone. 
  • Like Reah, you can deliver goods and medicine to the elderly or those in need.

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