Thoughtful gestures deliver gratitude during pandemic

Benjie Rubinstein has sweet memories when he thinks of his best friend who passed away in the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center in December 2019. So on the one-year anniversary of his friend’s passing, Benjie found an ideal way to honor his memory.

He delivered enough gourmet doughnuts and cake to treat HopeHealth’s entire staff.

“It was wonderful to see him arrive on the anniversary of his friend’s passing with these delicious treats, individually wrapped for everyone,” says HopeHealth Support Services Manager Javone Duarte.

Benjie’s gift made Javone a popular person on the day he emerged from the elevator with a cart bringing the treats to staff members. It’s a task he has performed on a number of occasions during the pandemic.

Colored donuts with glaze in a box on a white wooden background

“Many of our HopeHealth families make unique donations of food and flowers to both remember their loved ones and recognize the hard work of our care teams,” Javone says.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more families than ever have looked for ways to make the Hulitar Hospice Center care teams, along with patients and their families, feel appreciated and nourished.

The pandemic prevented the Manigan family from continuing their long-standing tradition of bringing the Hulitar Hospice Center staff a bountiful Christmas luncheon in 2020. Because of COVID-19 regulations, they instead donated funds to provide the entire staff with bagels, coffee, and cookies throughout the holiday season and treat families with a loved one at the Hulitar Hospice Center to free meals and snacks in the dining room.

“Food comforts the soul,” Javone says. “These gestures of gratitude have been a silver lining during this health crisis and mean so much to our team and our families.”

“The cafeteria was a godsend and the food was simple and delicious,” says a grateful family member who later made a donation to continue the “pay it forward” generosity.

Recognizing the long and challenging days of our staff, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island also provided a boxed lunch for the entire team during the holidays.

“Food comforts the soul,” Javone says. “These gestures of gratitude have been a silver lining during this health crisis and mean so much to our team and our families.”

Generosity in the time of COVID-19

The HopeHealth community understands the importance of supporting each other.

“A thoughtful gesture can make all the difference,” says Special Events Manager Jennifer Martin. “During the health care crisis, this generosity has grown in incredibly inspiring ways.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, when every health care organization was challenged to find personal protective equipment (PPE), family members, friends and volunteers took up needles and thread to ensure HopeHealth’s staff had the gear they needed to safely care for patients. Since March 2020, more than 300 handmade clinical gowns and 1,000 masks were handmade by dozens of individuals and businesses, including Marc Allen Fine Clothiers in Providence.

Festive decorations to mark the 2020 holiday season at the Hulitar Hospice Center were a gift from Michele Cerreta in memory of her husband who passed away there in December 2019. Mrs. Cerreta wanted to express her gratitude for the special care her family received and the warm atmosphere in the building. She was comforted by the seasonal flowers, centerpieces and poinsettias placed in public spaces and patient floors.

Hulitar Hospice Center decorated with poinsettias

“This really brightened up what was a challenging holiday season for so many,” Jennifer says.

As many homebound palliative and hospice patients have been isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic, Erica Ferguson reached out to HopeHealth with an idea to help these patients stay inspired and engaged. Her mother was homebound and books were her lifeline to the outside world. Through her efforts, 25 e-readers, with six pre-loaded books, are now available as a gift to any patient who requests one.

The gift of these e-readers is sure to last long beyond the pandemic.

“Behind every donation at HopeHealth is a story and a connection to a loved one,” Jennifer adds.

“Every mask, every muffin, is a way to share that memory and appreciation for our care teams.”

Would you like to make a special donation to remember a loved one, recognize our care teams or support our patients and their families? Reach out to our Special Events Manager, Jennifer Martin, at (401) 415 4294.

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