Day Kimball Healthcare’s (DKH) annual Warmth and Wellness Holiday Drive returned for a third year collecting over 45 cases of personal care and warmth items, including hats, gloves, blankets, and more, for those in need across Northeast Connecticut.
Hundreds of donated items were delivered the week of February 21 to Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG), Interfaith Human Services of Putnam’s (IHSP) food pantry, the DKH Family Advocacy Center, and the DKH Behavioral Health Outpatient Services, so they can be distributed to those in need.
“We love our community partners,” said Karen Osbrey, President, Interfaith Human Services of Putnam. “As a 100 percent volunteer organization, IHSP relies on the help of others to fulfill our objectives. We are so happy that DKH shares our mission of caring for the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The drive was held throughout December and into the first week of January. DKH staff and the community were invited to drop donations at designated Warmth and Wellness holiday trees at various DKH sites. Items collected included hundreds of toothbrushes and related dental hygiene products; body wash, soap, shampoo, deodorant, and hand sanitizer; toilet paper and feminine products; facecloths and hand towels; laundry detergent and wet wipes; pillows, sheets, blankets, and sleeping bags; and pajamas, socks, hats and mittens for children and adults.
Included in the distribution this year, were donated knitted newborn hats, handmade by local yarn shop, Woolworks Ltd. The hats were created by the Woolworks knitting group in honor of DKH’s 125th anniversary celebrated in 2019. During September, the local business showcased a window display of newborn hats all month long in memory of Day Kimball Hospital maternity nurse and knitting group friend, Paula Nelson (1935-2019), and in the spirit of raising awareness of DKH’s 125th anniversary.
“We are appreciative to the knitting group at Woolworks for donating these beautiful hand knitted hats to our organization to help keep newborns in our community warm this winter,” said Christine Millette, Clinical Supervisor, Family Advocacy Center, Day Kimball Healthcare.
“Northeast Connecticut is widely known for its generosity and willingness to take care of others” said Kristen Willis, Director of Development, Day Kimball Healthcare. “The overwhelming support of this community for grassroots efforts like our Warmth and Wellness Drive is a significant component for how DKH has been able to continue to meet the health and wellness needs of our community.”
Now Accepting Personal Protective Equipment Donations
We are now calling upon the Northeast Connecticut community to give back to Day Kimball Healthcare,” said Willis. “On a local level, we are coordinating a mass collection of critically needed supplies to prepare for the coronavirus spreading into our community. This collection platform will allow us to get these supplies in the hands of those who need them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused international shortages of critical personal protective equipment (PPE). In collaboration with the Northeast District Department of Health for the procurement of these critical supplies, DKH is accepting PPE donations from the community to keep colleagues, patients and families safe during these unprecedented times.
“While we are currently successfully managing PPE supplies as responsible stewards of our resources, with the number of COVID-19 patients rising daily throughout the state, we are asking for the community’s help in donating supplies now. That way, supplies will be ready if needed in coming days and weeks, to protect staff and patients at Day Kimball Healthcare,” said Willis.
Donated items must be in original, unopened packaging. Equipment being accepted by DKH include: disposable head covers; disposable gowns; disposable gloves; N95 respirator face masks; disposable face masks; face-shields/goggles; coveralls/scrubs; shoe-covers; disinfection wipes and liquids; and general-purpose hand cleaners and hand sanitizers.
“We deeply appreciate the community’s generosity to assist DKH’s response to COVID-19. These supplies are going to be critical in keeping our healthcare professionals safe and healthy as they put themselves at risk every day and will ensure that we can continue to be on the front lines to provide care for our patients during this public health crisis,” said Willis.
In addition, DKH is now accepting homemade face masks. Prior to starting this project DKH asks individuals to please consider if they have been in contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past two weeks and if they have fever, cough or shortness of breath. If they are able to answer no to both questions, then they can proceed with making masks. If they answer yes to either or both questions, DKH asks that they please do not make masks and contact their primary care provider.
DKH advises individuals who are experiencing cough, fever, or shortness of breath and have a concern that they may have COVID-19 to call their primary care provider for a risk assessment.
For more information on general guidance for those who wish to participate and help by sewing masks for donations, visit www.daykimball.org/DonatePPE.
Individuals who wish to make PPE donations, please email DonatePPE@daykimball.org to coordinate drop off times with a DKH staff member.
For more information on Day Kimball Healthcare’s coronavirus response visit www.daykimball.org/coronavirus.
PHOTO CAPTIONS (in order of appearance):
Kristen Willis, Director of Development, Day Kimball Healthcare and DKH Facilities employees Brian Hawes and Alex Gosselin deliver a wide array of personal care and warmth items to Anne Miller, Executive Director, TEEG and her team at the TEEG office in Thompson.
Kristen Willis, Director of Development, Day Kimball Healthcare and DKH Facilities employees Brian Hawes and Alex Gosselin deliver personal care and warmth items collected from DKH’s Warmth and Wellness Holiday drive to WINY Radio’s Karen Osbrey to be distributed through the Interfaith Human Services’ food pantry.
Kristen Willis, Director of Development, Day Kimball Healthcare delivers donated personal care and warmth items to Peter Neal, Ph.D, Director of Behavioral Health Services, Day Kimball Healthcare and his team in the Behavioral Health Center.
(back row l to r): Rachel Katsoulis, nurse manager, Maternal Child Health department; Dr. Andrew MacKenzie, maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Erica Kesselman, OB/GYN, Jennie Beaudry, RN, Maternal Child Health department, Kristen Willis, development director, Day Kimball Healthcare. (front row l to r): Betty Caffrey, RN, Maternal Child Health department, Jennifer Ruggirello, RN, Maternal Child Health department and Woolworks Ltd. business owner, and Shelley Holman, UR/PCT, Maternal Child Health department.
Kristen Willis, Director of Development, Day Kimball Healthcare delivers items collected from the DKH Warmth and Wellness Holiday Drive to the team at DKH’s Family Advocacy Center.