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SBU News > Community > COVID-19 Donor Spotlight #1: Stepping Up to Support SBUH Responders

COVID-19 Donor Spotlight #1: Stepping Up to Support SBUH Responders

Medical staff at Stony Brook University Hospital with their treats from the Easter Bunny. Various local companies donated the goodies and University volunteers helped distribute them to SBUH staff on Friday, April 10, giving a much needed lift to those on the front line fighting the coronavirus.

The local community has been unwavering in its support of Stony Brook University Hospital and its frontline responders fighting the pandemic. The hospital has been receiving donations from individuals, small businesses, corporations and organizations and the variety is as wide as the items and quantities. SBU News will be highlighting the stories behind some of these donations to show how we are all #InThisTogether. 

Several businesses looked to support hospital staff from the inside out, providing food, beverages and even treats for their kids.

Medical staff at Stony Brook University Hospital with their treats from the Easter Bunny. Various local companies donated the goodies and University volunteers helped distribute them to SBUH staff on Friday, April 10, giving a much needed lift to those on the front line fighting the coronavirus.
Medical staff at Stony Brook University Hospital with their treats from the Easter Bunny. Various local companies donated the goodies, and University volunteers helped distribute them to SBUH staff on Friday, April 10, giving a much needed lift to those on the frontline fighting the coronavirus.

An Easter Surprise

Several business joined together to help make the Easter holiday weekend a little brighter for the staff at the hospital. On Good Friday, several donors dropped off a range of treats and flowers to lift the spirits of those on the front lines, even providing Easter baskets for those professionals who – because of their commitment to providing care to their patients – did not have time to obtain baskets themselves for their own children. A special appearance was made by the Easter Bunny, thanks to Monica Rea of Sky King Marketing. The donors reached out to Joan Dickinson, Director of Community Relations, on Thursday and the event was coordinated in under 24 hours, thanks to volunteers from Student Affairs, the President’s Office, the Career Center and University Community Relations.

    Easter donations included:

    • 4,000 candy-filled eggs and 11,500 lollipops from the Walt Whitman Mall
    • Godiva chocolate goodies and jelly beans from Macy’s at the Smith Haven Mall
    • Boxes and bags of candy and chocolate bunnies from CVS in collaboration with James Lynn, father of Joseph Lynn, a medical resident
    • 1,000 toy-filled eggs from the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce
    • 1,000 beautiful potted plants from Borella Nursery of Nesconset and Mario Mattera, a private donor
Brianna Camassa, daughter of Maria Camassa from Lucky Lou’s, bringing donations of gourmet pudding to help fuel our Stony Brook University Hospital frontline responders.
Brianna Camassa, daughter of Maria Camassa from Lucky Lou’s, bringing donations of gourmet pudding to help fuel our Stony Brook University Hospital frontline responders.

Sweet Encouragement

Immediately after the University put out the call for help on March 20, two local confectioners — the Chocolate Works in Stony Brook Village and Chocology in Stony Brook — donated dozens of dipped pretzels and other goodies to provide some comfort to hospital staff.

Staff has also been treated to snacks of rice pudding every week, thanks to Maria Camassa from Lucky Lou’s Gourmet Puddings, who was one of the first donors who responded to help. Lucky Lou’s is one of the companies located at Stony Brook’s Food Incubator at Calverton. Doug Geed of News12 recently featured the company in one of his East End segments. Watch his report here

Sweet tea was also among the donations, thanks to Patricia Catalina, Executive Vice President of Woodbury-based Arizona Beverages, who reached out on behalf of her company to donate more than 70 cases of their teas, water and fruit snacks for our frontline healthcare providers. Additionally, Catalina, who is personally connected with the Mother’s Guild of St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, reported that their group had put together a very generous care package of comfort items including 100 Guardian pins, pre-pasted toothbrushes, dry shampoo and so much more that was on the requested list for both the healthcare workers and their patients. 

The collection of chargers and cables donated by Los Leones so that patients can charge their phones and stay connected to their families.
The collection of chargers and cables donated by Los Leones so that patients can charge their phones and stay connected to their families.

Keeping Connected

Communication is key during a crisis, and two organizations helped keep staff, patients and families connected through their generosity.

Phobio, a software company based in Atlanta, donated 150 iPads to Stony Brook University Hospital. All devices were sanitized prior to boxing and shipping to ensure the safety of their recipients. Through Phobio’s generosity, hospital staff were able to improve their ability to safely care for patients, reduce risk to the medical staff, and to improve patient stays by enabling connection to their families and friends, as well as provide entertainment while they’re in isolation.

Los Leones, a local chapter of Ruff Ryders, donated 30 new wall chargers and 37 new cables for iPhone and Android phones for patient use. The donation was facilitated by Lisa Pereira, the public relations officer for Los Leones, who is a registered nurse and a current graduate student in Stony Brook’s Nurse Practitioner program.

“We know that some patients don’t have the ability to charge their phones during their stay in the hospital, and we know how imperative it is for them to stay in touch with loved ones,” Pereira said. “Everyone in Los Leones wanted to help.”

These are just a few of the stories behind the thousands of donations that Stony Brook University Hospital has received. If you would like learn more about how you can help during the crisis, please reach out to Joan Dickinson at COVID19donations@stonybrook.edu or call 631.219.0603 to schedule an appointment.

Shelley Catalano

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