Kindness is Not Cancelled
As COVID-19 cases arrived in our area, Adventist HealthCare team members responded with comradery, bravery and a renewed sense of service to our community. In turn, members of our community reached out as never before to support our healthcare heroes. We are truly grateful for the businesses and individuals who have given meals, money and medical supplies to aid our COVID-19 response.
A STREAK OF FEEDING THE FRONT LINE
COVID-19 has given the teams at Adventist HealthCare’s hospitals a lot to think about, but what to eat is rarely one of them. Community members have come out in force to make sure our caregivers are well fed as they take on the coronavirus.
Many restaurant owners have delivered meals to our hospitals, but none more than Gopi Swamynathan. His streak of visiting Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center and its Germantown Emergency Center at lunchtime each day spans months. Now, care teams know Gopi and look forward to the Indian-inspired meals and desserts from his restaurants, Dosa & Chaat and Hot Breads Bakery in the Kentlands neighborhood of Gaithersburg, Maryland.
When the virus began to spread into our community, Gopi felt called to help. His restaurants had been hit hard financially by stay at- home orders, with business down as much as 80 percent. Still, he kept thinking of his many customers who were first responders.
“My wife and I spoke and it was then I decided to commit to preparing and distributing food every day for those working so hard to save lives. I feel like these first responders are my family. Plus, so many doctors, nurses and police officers are good customers of Dosa & Chaat. I felt it was only appropriate to return the favor.”
Gopi prepares his meals daily and makes a delivery circuit to several Montgomery County hospitals and organizations focused on feeding those in need.
“I really, truly admire every single member of the hospital family. I admire your tenacity, bravery, commitment, selflessness and hard work. So many of you work so many shifts, work without sitting, without taking breaks, without eating. Please know I have this in my heart every time I cook for you.”
His giving nature is nothing new. He has trained 22 individuals on the autism spectrum at his restaurants, some of whom work at Hot Breads Bakery.
He smiles when he mentions that the Adventist HealthCare campuses are his favorite stops. “My family and I have special connections with Shady Grove and Germantown Emergency because so many of the doctors and nurses took care of my severely disabled brother-in-law. I feel a special kinship and familial feeling with so many Shady Grove team members.”
Gopi vows to continue feeding the front line as long as he can. “At the end of the day, we are all woven together in this community – we need to be there for one another.”
CARING GROUPS BOOST PPE SUPPLIES
COVID-19 has educated the world about the importance of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for our healthcare workers. Masks, gowns, face shields and other infection prevention supplies are essential to the safety of caregivers on the front line. Adventist HealthCare is blessed with an incredible Supply Chain team, who helps make sure our employees have the PPE they need. Many members of our community stepped up to support their efforts and answer a call for donations of PPE, to supplement our supplies.
One early group who answered the call was Chinese Americans Support Hospitals, or CASH. “We truly care for our clinical staffs who work in the first line during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said member Angela Men. The volunteer group of scientists from Montgomery County’s Life Sciences Corridor raised money for three weeks to buy medical-grade protective equipment for 12 local hospitals. Adventist HealthCare hospitals received 15,000 surgical masks, 490 N95 masks, 60 face shields and 162 gowns from the group.
Another supply donor was the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. ADRA gave 20 pallets of PPE and other medical supplies valued at nearly $500,000 to support care across our facilities. ADRA is one of several Seventh-day Adventist organizations that has provided equipment and support to our COVID-19 response.
FRIENDS IN FAITH GIVE TO COVID-19 FUND
As COVID-19 cases began to increase in our area, Adventist HealthCare established a fund to help cover the cost of supplies, temporary staff or other needs during its response to the disease. As of press time, Adventist HealthCare has received more than $795,000 from individuals and businesses to support our response to COVID-19.
Among those generous donors were our friends from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church was one of the earliest contributors to the fund, giving $10,000 in March to aid our COVID-19 relief efforts in Washington, D.C, and Maryland.
“Adventist HealthCare is deeply grateful for the support of our friends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Adventist HealthCare President and CEO, Terry Forde. “Their generous gift to our COVID-19 Community Response Fund will help our hospitals rise to whatever challenges may come as we extend God’s care to our community. We are blessed to have their support, especially in these unprecedented times.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ have previously worked together on ways to promote religiously motivated service in communities.
Elder Kevin Calderwood, Church of Jesus Christ leader, said: “During this great time of need, we are honored to help our friends from Adventist HealthCare. We are grateful for the dedicated service of the doctors, nurses and technicians who are motivated by their love of their fellow man.”