Well, folks, we’re almost done sharing all the ways you can spread #LocalGoodness in YEG this month. What better way to cap things off than by giving some extra local love to Edmonton’s health care workers, researchers, and other medical professionals?
Today, we’re talking about how you can support the selfless efforts of our essential health care workers, who are keeping us safe every day during this pandemic. They don’t want to be called heroes because they’re just doing their jobs, but we can still show our appreciation for everything they do.
Communities around the world, including here in Edmonton, have been showing their support by clapping and cheering around hospitals. But just as our workers go above and beyond, we at The Local Good want to share ideas for support that involve more than just clapping and cheering (although they do appreciate it—we asked!).
That’s why today’s suggestions involve your time, your money, your voice, and even your health—and we encourage you to use them to create a little local good!
Care for the Caregivers
In such a close-knit community, many of us have a front-line health care worker or two in our lives. Maybe your friend is working on vaccine research at the university, or your sibling just got their nursing degree. Whatever their medical association, it’s time to ask them what they need. Whether that means picking up groceries while they’re at work, or just being a listening ear to help reduce their stress levels, every action counts.
Need a few more ideas? If you’d like to help even more workers, use GroceryHero, a platform that enables volunteers to buy groceries for busy health care professionals. Feeling crafty? Cards for Courage is a nonprofit based in the USA that’s working to get handmade thank-you cards to front-line workers. Contact your Edmonton chapter to get more details and have your cards distributed at local hospitals.
Alberta Health Services has a number of volunteer roles available through various hospitals and health care facilities. They aren’t taking any more volunteers for contact tracing, but there’s still plenty you can do to help. If you have previous medical experience, you can also apply to volunteer through the Alberta College of Pharmacy or the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta.
Wash Your Hands (Of Your Extra Cash!)
We know these are challenging times and not everyone is in a solid place financially as a result. But if you find yourself with a little extra money that you’d like to put toward our health care workers, you can donate to the Frontline Fund, which donates to hospital foundations across Canada to support front-line workers during the pandemic. Other organizations and community funds are also looking for donations right now.
If you’d rather share supplies than cash, check out Conquer COVID-19, an organization that distributes donated items to the places where they’re most needed. AHS can use donated items, too; if you have a company or a large supply and want to donate, you can contact them directly.
While our health care workers are on the job, it can also be tough for them to eat healthy. It’s always thoughtful to send meals and snacks—not just during a pandemic!—but these days, we have to be a little more cautious about how we do it. This food now needs to come from a safe commercial kitchen, so contact a trusted local restaurant and have individually packaged portions delivered to workers.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, our province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has inspired a line of t-shirts through Print Machine, designed by artists Steph Simpson (Edmonton) and Mandy Stobo (Calgary). You can support Dr. Hinshaw and other health care workers by buying and wearing one of these stylish tees. (Don’t forget to tweet her a photo, too!) All profits go to the Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre and Pregnancy Pathways.
Spread Kindness, Not Germs
Clothing isn’t the only way to support Dr. Hinshaw. She works hard, so why not tell her how much you appreciate her efforts? You can tag the @CMOH_Alberta account on Twitter, or share your posts using #ABcares. And if you’re online anyway, you can learn more about #NursesWeek and send a thank-you to United Nurses of Alberta and to health care workers through the HSAA.
You can also thank health care workers by putting up a Thank Alberta Health sign on your lawn, on your balcony, or in your windows. The sign project is run locally, and all proceeds go to Edmonton’s Food Bank. You can share a message and a photo of your sign on social media to spread the word (and make sure to tag your post with #ThankABHealth!).
Want to do more? One of the most important things you can do is educate yourself about the medical realities of COVID-19 through reliable sources of health information, then share this information with your family, friends, and social circle. Make sure you’ve thoroughly reviewed and vetted any information before you share it on social media.
Begin with a Health-First Mindset
This comes directly from a nurse: the best thing you can do for your health care workers is to follow expert and government-issued public health advice. That means maintaining social distance, staying home if you can (especially if you aren’t feeling well), washing your hands often, and not hoarding health supplies. You should also learn how to wear masks and gloves properly from Dr. Hinshaw herself.
If you want to actively contribute to health care, you can participate in a COVID-19 study (or any other study) through Be The Cure, an Alberta-wide platform for health research. You can also donate blood through Canadian Blood Services; just call ahead at 1888-2-DONATE or visit their website to find out where and when you can donate.
As you #StayHomeStaySafe, remember: if you have a medical condition or a real emergency, get checked out. It’s great that you’re trying to reduce the strain on our medical system, but don’t wait till your health is worse. That doesn’t help our health care workers—and it definitely doesn’t help you!
When it comes to supporting health care workers, anything and everything helps. Start spreading the local goodness today, and don’t forget to tell us about it on social media with #LocalGoodnessYEG!