When the pandemic hit our community last year, Stony Brook University Hospital employees worked around the clock to serve and care for those in need. Many spent long hours away from their own families and willingly put themselves at risk. More than a year later, the community is still giving back with continued donations as a way to say thank you for all their hard work and support.
Taylor Koehler, 16, a junior at Smithtown East High School and a member of the Red Cross Club there, organized a donation of snacks and comfort care items with her classmate, Bianca Kusko, also 16 and a junior at the school.
“During the pandemic, it’s been really hard organizing events and drives for donations that are safe,” said Koehler. “When we found out that the hospital was still accepting food donations for the nurses and staff, we knew that’s what we wanted to do. We were inspired by the hospital’s outstanding work and dedication during these difficult times, especially the way they prioritized the safety of others. All of our club members appreciated being able to help the hard-working staff.”
Joan Dickinson, director of Community Relations, facilitated many of the donations through her office. For a spring treat, Sue Rhouse, a retired SBU nurse, and her daughter Krista donated 500 snack bags with messages of thanks for the employees. “I just hope they bring a bit of comfort and a few smiles,” says Rhouse. She was joined by Minna Thrall, owner of Deco Cookies, who happily donated an extra seven boxes of hand-made cookies.
Sam Youngs, 16, a junior at Eastport-South Manor High School, gathered hundreds of thank you notes from around the world to share with Stony Brook Medicine employees. Through the organization Cards Spread Love, Sam collected messages from as far away as South Africa and India.
The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County donated 1,200 boxes of cookies to the hospital. “This has been such a trying time for so many. We are proud of our hospital teams that brought thousands of Long Islanders through this pandemic,” said Dickinson. “They worked countless hours for the sake of the community and handing them a box of cookies to say thank you goes a long way in showing appreciation.”
The boxes were distributed immediately through the Stony Brook catering office and the HealthierU team.
“On behalf of the employees at Stony Brook University Hospital, we want to thank every community group for their generous donations. They are certainly helping to put a smile on everyone’s face,” said Dickinson.
If you wish to donate medical supplies or comfort care items, please contact Joan Dickinson, Stony Brook University Community Relations Director, at Joan.Dickinson@stonybrook.edu or call (631) 219-0603. Drop-off times and locations will be arranged to get donations into the right hands quickly and in the most efficient and safest way for all involved.
— Tamara Gregorian, Community Relations