Christine Danderand knows how hard nurses like her mother have been working during the coronavirus pandemic and wanted to do something to let them know how much their sacrifices are appreciated. Danderand, an Omaha, Nebraska, makeup artist, set up a Facebook group last month inviting people to adopt the nurses and health care workers at her mom’s hospital. She only expected her friends to see the group it has grown to more than 12,000 members in just over three weeks and hundreds of health care workers have been adopted.
To participate, nurses and other health care workers can post some information about themselves and a link to their Amazon wish lists. Adopters got busy sending box after box of holiday cheer along with heartfelt messages of thanks and encouragement. The gifts have come from grateful members of the public, doctors, who adopt entire hospital units, and even other nurses. “If you read a lot of the Amazon links, they want compression socks, or a new pair of shoes, or a coffee mug, candy,” she said. “Just little things that kind of brighten their spirits when they get home from work at the end of the day.”
She says she has been spending about four hours a day running the group and has recruited three of her friends to help. Danderand had only planned to run the group for a few weeks, but says it doesn’t feel right to stop now since it’s grown so much. She said she’s heard from a lot of people who’ve made new friends through the group. It’s not just a gifting page anymore, it’s something where they’ve got support from their peers,” she said.
One of her new volunteers is a hospice nurse and was one of the first people adopted by the group. Kris Epps-Martinez said she’s been adopting other nurses to pay it forward. “I deal with death all the time,” Epps-Martinez said. “These other nurses aren’t used to this. It’s hard on them. They deal with death, but not like this.” Epps-Martinez added “It’s simple to do and any health care worker can post and get adopted. We’ve been having them create a wish list on Amazon so that way they get what they want.”
Nurses from states all across the country are now posting and getting adopted. Danderand says it has been uplifting to see the generosity. There are currently about 200 workers waiting to get something from their wish list. Now, there’s a need for people to adopt. You can buy as much or as little as you want. Danderand said anything will mean a lot. “If I could say anything to all the nurses out there I would say thank you,'” Danderand said. Similar groups have been springing up across the country. If you want to join the movement, check your social media for local adopt-a-nurse initiatives—or start an adopt-a-frontline-worker group of your own.