Nurses in several hospitals in West Orange County discovered this week just how much the community appreciates their daily efforts to provide compassion and expert care — and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In honor of Nurses Week, more than 260 businesses have donated 27,000 meals since April 1.
Boyd Development has partnered with area restaurants to provide meals for nurses on both shifts at the Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion — Horizon West.
The generosity started April 27, when restaurants delivered breakfast, dinner, frozen custard and smoothies to the nurses at Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion — Horizon West. Hamlin restaurants participating in the recognition are Starbucks, The French Café, The Great Greek, The Pizza Press, Abbott’s Frozen Custard and Planet Smoothie.
“We brainstormed as a team ways we could partner with local businesses we knew were feeling the effects of the pandemic to honor Hamlin Heroes,” Tia Carrizzo, creative director of Boyd Development Corporation. “As we began reaching out to organize the project, we were met with an overwhelming desire from business owners to not only participate in preparing and delivering food but also to be financially involved, even though they were navigating their own challenges. Their display of selflessness and service speaks to how deeply they are engaged in our community.”
Boyd Development also partnered with OneBlood and is hosting blood drives from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 16, 23 and 30 in the Starbucks Hamlin parking lot. Those donating will receive multiple gifts.
Donors are encouraged to make online appointments at oneblood.org/donate-now to further assist with social distancing efforts and help with donor flow. The sponsor code is 60304.
Shannon Vaughan, nursing operations manager for Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion — Horizon West, said the nurses are grateful for the support from their employer, their coworkers and their community.
“This week especially has really shown the team how much they support each other,” she said. “I think we’ve handled (the pandemic) with grace and a lot of awareness of what our patients need. … Patients are looking for not just that care medically but also that emotional support.”
Vaughan’s duties changed once the pandemic reached Central Florida, and part of her job is to give the nurses what they need during this time of juggled schedules, distance learning and daycare.
“Out here at Horizon West we’ve always had this — ‘We’re rather small, but we’re mighty,’” Vaughan said. “People have taken on some added responsibilities.”
She is grateful for Boyd Development’s generosity.
“The really unique thing is that it’s been coordinated by the local restaurants, which our staff has already been supporting,” said Shannon Vaughan, nurse operations manager. “My team feels very fortunate to be taken care of that way and really recognized.”
The Bloom & Grow Garden Society made its contribution to nurses, too, in the form of colorful blooming orchids and beautiful white peace lilies. More than 1,000 plants were delivered to Orlando Health’s Health Central and Dr. Phillips hospitals and Health Central Park, as well as to AdventHealth Winter Garden.
With just three weeks to accomplish the task, club members got busy making phone calls and arranging donations and pickups. Deliveries were made Friday, May 8.
“We were blessed with fabulous suppliers who were happy to do something for the nurses,” Bloom & Grow member Joyce Carcara said.
Costa Farms donated 500 Moth Orchids in ceramic pots, and The Urban Jungle gave 600 lilies. Palm Tree Packaging provided 600 foil pot covers for the lilies.
Garden club member Gretchen Boyd said the members wanted to show their appreciation, “because of how wonderful the nurses are during the COVID-19; they’re really the superheroes.”
The club was prepared to purchase the plants, but the nurseries donated all of them.
“It was so exciting, and it was so special, and what was even more amazing to me was seeing the actual plants,” Carcara said. “The orchids are gorgeous, and the lilies are fabulous; they are mature, fabulous plants, and it was a fantastic project. I think the nurseries were grateful to be able to provide such a gift.”