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Community giving supports health care heroes

Published: April 21, 2020

Local businesses have donated generously to UF Health Jacksonville during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As health care professionals worldwide risk their lives to protect and heal patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, the community is showing its support in any way possible.

UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North are experiencing this kindness firsthand from local business owners. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, more than 50 community supporters and companies have reached out to donate various items, including cash, food, masks and other personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and more.

Restaurants around Jacksonville have donated hundreds of meals, making employees feel appreciated and fueling them for long shifts in high-stress, high-risk environments. In addition to food, UF Health has received essential supplies that have helped offset shortages nationwide, including N95 masks, respirators, gloves, surgical masks, gowns and other items critical to employee and patient safety.

The giving hasn’t ended there. A local florist sent beautiful arrangements to display at UF Health Jacksonville to help brighten the mood and boost morale. The hospital also received cash gifts to fund new equipment and technology.   

These uncertain times are encouraging innovation and creativity. Many distilleries, local and national, are adapting by making hand sanitizer and donating it to hospitals, including UF Health North and UF Health Jacksonville.

“It’s inspiring to see the community rally around our team of health care heroes,” said Kimberly Jones, chief development officer at UF Health Jacksonville and assistant vice president of development for the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “These partners have answered the call and are making a real difference during this difficult time.”

UF Health employees have even stepped up to support each other in unique ways, such as helping to make masks, using a 3D printer to build mask clips and drawing inspirational sidewalk chalk art to encourage colleagues.

“The outpouring of support is beyond anything we could have imagined or hoped for,” said Ann-Marie Knight, vice president of community engagement and chief diversity officer at UF Health Jacksonville. “The community is finding creative ways to show support for our teams on the front line of this pandemic. It’s not only inspiring, but there are incidental benefits to this generosity. Our neighbors are finding purpose in this sea of uncertainty and concern. Whether they are making masks or coordinating a meal donation, all of it is uplifting for them. In that way, I believe we are truly helping each other.”

These acts of kindness, which are part of a global effort, allow health care workers to focus on caring for patients and bringing joy back into the workplace. A new initiative called Giving Tuesday Now is building steam and encouraging people worldwide to come together and give back during a one-day campaign on May 5. Consider supporting UF Health that day, even though donations at any time are welcome and appreciated.

Visit UFHealthJax.org/covid-19/how-can-i-help  to learn more. Every donation, no matter the size, makes a difference.
Let Destiny Design’s floral arrangements add a touch of beauty to the UF Health Jacksonville campus.
Several UF Health employees make masks for support personnel.
UF Health Jacksonville nurses encourage each other with inspirational chalk art.
The Rehabilitation Services team at UF Health North expresses excitement after the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council donate more than 2,100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
Bacardi donates 900 bottles of hand sanitizer to UF Health North.

For more information, please contact:
UF Health Media Relations
904-244-3268