Community can say thank you to hospital staff by adopting a St George Hospital healthcare worker

Giving thanks: St George Hospital staff with one of the gifts they have received from the community. Picture: Supplied
Giving thanks: St George Hospital staff with one of the gifts they have received from the community. Picture: Supplied

There is no doubt St George Hospital staff are working hard right now, so the community is being asked to show its appreciation by adopting a healthcare worker.

Georges River councillor Sandy Grekas first created the Adopt a Healthcare Worker - St George Hospital group on Facebook last year after seeing a similar program in Perth.

At the time, the group received great support from the community, which resulted in the delivery of multiple care packages for staff across the hospital and ambulance service.

The group currently has about 30 members, including individuals, businesses and community groups, such as Oatley FC and South Hurstville IGA.

With stay-at-home orders meaning volunteers are unable to physically drop off care packages to hospitals, councillor Grekas reached out to St George Hospital's acting director of nursing & midwifery Lauren Sturgess to ask how the community could help the hard-working healthcare staff during this difficult time.

"Volunteers have made donations through a variety of COVID-safe ways, including online grocery orders, fruit basket deliveries from local fruit shops, financial donations to the St George Hospital well-being account, coffee tabs at local cafes and thank you cards," councillor Grekas said.

The group is currently seeking donations of fresh fruit baskets, bottled and canned drinks, healthy snacks, frozen meals, toiletries to allow staff can shower before heading home, and food and coffee vouchers.

"These are items that will make a real difference to staff as they work hard to keep our community safe," councillor Grekas said.

"Items that support the well-being of staff, such as puzzles, magazines and inspirational posters are also recommended.

"Donations can also be made to the hospital."

The initiative got an added boost recently in the form of a $1000 cash prize from a radio competition.

Oatley Lions vice-president Richard Sheahan said he was listening to the radio when he decided to enter the 2GB Reach Out competition.

Listeners are invited to nominate someone doing good in the community, so he nominated councillor Grekas. She won, and promptly donated the $1000 prize money back to the Adopt a Healthcare Worker - St George Hospital fund.

Ms Grekas said the initiative was "a positive way to help" during what is a frightening time.

"Our local healthcare workers are doing it very tough at the moment and this initiative is a small way to thank them for everything, and to show that we've got their back," she said.

"This is a great way to make a difference in your local community, and I encourage everyone to get involved, even if that's just sending a thank you card to the hospital staff.

"Our healthcare workers of all disciplines always have our backs in a crisis - now it's our turn to repay the favour and have theirs".

Ms Sturgess said: "It means a lot to our staff to know our community appreciate their hard work and on behalf of everyone at St George Hospital, I'd like to thank you all for your thoughtful and generous donations".

Details: You can join the Facebook group at "Adopt A Healthcare Worker - St George Hospital" by clicking here or contact councillor Grekas via email, sgrekas@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au or phone, 0424 617 831.