A new Facebook group called 'Adopt a Healthcare Worker - St George Hospital' has started to coordinate practical support for healthcare workers who are on the frontline of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The group has been started by Georges River Councillor Sandy Grekas on the back of an idea that began in Western Australia.
Councillor Grekas said healthcare workers who find themselves in need of assistance can post in the group and ask to be 'adopted' by other community members in local suburbs.
"Help can range from cooking a meal, walking a pet, picking up groceries, sending a care package, or just checking in to see if they're OK," Cr Grekas said.
"I knew a lot of people locally wanted to do something to help and this was a practical way to do so," she said.
On March 28, Councillor Grekas and Councillor Warren Tegg spent time outside the Oatley and Mortdale IGA stores collecting donations from community members to create care packages for the hospital.
"In only two hours we were inundated with donations from about 150 people," Cr Grekas said.
"Those people who didn't know anything about it were happy to donate once they found out who the care packages were for, and I was absolutely shocked at the generosity of people.
"We have enough donations for six generous care packages for the ED, ICU, the COVID testing clinic, the Aged Care unit, Respiratory unit and the Ambulance Service.
Rebecca Tyson, Acting General Manager St George Hospital said the hospital staff appreciate the community rallying together to show their support.
"It really means a lot to our staff to know that their hard work is appreciated by our community and on behalf of everyone at the hospital, I'd like to thank you so much for your thoughtful and generous donations," Ms Tyson said.
Cr Grekas said the idea started initially as a social media callout, but the initiative is growing and more local organisations want to be involved.
"We're focusing on non-perishable goods such as tea, coffee sachets, muesli bars, chocolates/lollies, chips, tinned fruit, mini cereal boxes, fruit drink boxes, soups, biscuits and more.
"We have also included thank you notes which have been absolutely beautiful, especially the ones from kids.
"We are working with the hospital to come up with a more coordinated response, so in the meantime I suggest people follow the Facebook group and wait for updates on how they can assist.
"The Adopt a Healthcare Worker groups have spread all over Australia via social media, as well as internationally.
Our healthcare workers are on the frontline of this fight against COVID-19, and they're putting themselves in harm's way to keep us all safe."
"They're truly our modern day superheroes.
"Just like in wartime, our communities need to mobilise to support our frontline troops.
"The best thing we can do is heed medical advice and stay at home. We all have a part to play in flattening the curve. They don't have the luxury of staying home, so we need to support them wherever and whenever possible," she said.
For more information please go to Facebook and search Adopt a Healthcare Worker - St George Hospital to find out how you can help support our local healthcare workers.