Generosity Lifts Staff Spirits During COVID-19

September 10, 2020

From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic through today, our staff have been relentless in ensuring that our patients continue to receive outstanding care. McLean leadership and donors have responded to this commitment by doing what they can to support frontline workers.

McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, developed a task force this spring to focus exclusively on increasing support for employees who were required to be on campus to deliver direct patient care or provide support services for the hospital’s inpatient and residential programs. Led by leadership from McLean’s Development, Human Resources, and Public Affairs teams, the task force explored ways to counter the numerous stresses associated with responding to COVID-19.

Spreading Kindness

Essential to the effort was the prompt and generous response of donors. The McLean COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was the primary source of providing staff support. Donors also provided food and many other types of in-kind gifts. In sum, McLean has received an estimated equivalent of more than $500K in contributions toward staff support this year.

”Members of our Board of Trustees and National Council led the way in mounting a support fund for McLean—and top of mind was the staff whom they know are essential to delivering our mission,” said Lori Etringer, MBA, senior vice president and chief development officer. “Our broader donor community followed suit with many people making generous new gifts to reinforce this effort.”

The means of support have ranged from the fun to the practical. Thanks to our donors, we have been able to provide our employees with large critical shipments of personal protective equipment, meals, cookies, whoopie pies, portable blenders, ice cream, chocolates, snack boxes, flowers, self-care kits, and hand-sewn masks, among other items.

Woman in mask holds mask

Researcher Stephanie A. Maddox, PhD, helps to distribute cloth masks to staff

From our Addiction Treatment Program at Naukeag in Petersham, Massachusetts, to Borden Cottage in Camden, Maine, every location and every shift has benefited from these donations.

“From the onset of the pandemic, it was apparent that McLean was not only thinking about how to support the communities we serve but their staff as well,” said Peter Max Black, business manager for Borden Cottage. “Being a satellite program, we can feel detached at times—but not through all of this. McLean did a fantastic job supporting the staff at Borden Cottage by providing meals, snacks, juicers, masks, and uplifting words of encouragement. All 40 of us certainly felt the appreciation and recognition and are proud to be a part of the team serving those in need.”

“Being far away from Belmont, it can feel like we are isolated,” added Jackie A. Fletcher, Naukeag’s director of admissions. “The meals made us feel like we were cared for, and we mattered.”

Others at Naukeag also expressed their appreciation for the meals, and the overnight staff were especially excited to get juicers. One of the overnight staff remarked that her juicer was the best and most useful gift she has received since her wedding many years ago.

Banding Together

The generosity of staff who haven’t been on the front lines has also been instrumental in ensuring that we take care of our caregivers and other on-site staff. Numerous employees who were working remotely came back to the Belmont campus to distribute meals to staff. Some employees used their vehicles to deliver meals, and others donated items to satellite locations.

McLean’s Human Resources department organized the distribution of thousands of meals across the hospital campuses from April through July 2020. Lisa D. Pratt, MBA, vice president of Human Resources, said that this “was no small task to coordinate, but, over time, we got the process down to a science.”

“These meals were our way of thanking and supporting those who had no option to work remotely,” said Pratt. “We wanted to show how much we cared.”

Michela Peruzzi, human resources coordinator, spearheaded the meal distributions for the first few months. Shivangi Shah, development officer for leadership support and operations, took over the role in July.

Gerry Dawson from Public Affairs was instrumental in organizing and distributing donated non-meal items. These included cloth masks, Taza and Seacoast Sweets chocolates, and self-care packages.

“Although we were socially distanced, the McLean community came together like never before to help support our staff on the front lines,” said Peruzzi. “Making sure that our staff had a tasty lunch felt like the least I could do to show my gratitude. Sharing meals has always been one of my favorite ways to connect with people, and a global pandemic gave me an unexpected opportunity to meet new people—from six feet apart, of course.”

Generosity by the Numbers

  • Donated items distributed: 10,317 meals (860 meals per week), 1,700 whoopie pies, 1,800 ice cream treats, 750 chocolate treats, 1,000 self-care packages, and 1,400 hand-stitched cloth masks
  • Meal distribution volunteers: 44
  • Volunteer hours contributed for meal distribution: 180
  • Total donated to McLean COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund through August 20: $373,723.00

We continue to welcome contributions to supporting our frontline staff. Please visit our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund page to donate.

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