CHATHAM, NJ - If this was a normal year, members of the Chatham Twig, a branch of the Women's Association for Morristown Medical Center, would be decorating Goryeb Children's Hospital for special events in the pediatric playroom.
But this is no normal year and members of the Chatham Twig knew they had to do something to help during the Coronavirus pandemic - even if it had to be from outside the hospital.
"No one is going into the hospital these days to visit," Samantha Ekert, co-president of Chatham Twig along with Amy Crandall. "We've switched gears and been in touch with our child-life specialists and in-house social workers. I've been texting them and asking them 'What do you need?' "
Chatham Twig, which is approaching its 10-year anniversary, found out that workers in the Valerie Center and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit needed crocs to wear; snacks for parents and medical personnel; baby monitors to check on patients and better communication for parents, and IPads and IPad chargers.
"We just want to ease the burden in any way we can," Ekert said. "We've all developed a great deal of appreciation for health-care workers on the front line who are risking their lives every single day."
There are more than 60 members of the Chatham Twig, and they have delivered big-time for pediatric patients and their caregivers with 80 pairs of crocs and boxes of snacks. In addition to the IPads and baby monitors, Twig has thrown in more than 40 Starbucks gift cards for the medical staff.
Over the years, the Chatham Twig has donated more than $70,000 to the Goryeb Children's Hospital, the Valerie Center and the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center.
"The Twig is involved with both hands-on projects and fundraising," Ekert said. "Meals are delivered to the PICU monthly and for special holidays; the Goryeb pediatric playroom is decorated four times per year and patient goody bags are distributed during decorating days. Twice annually, the members host an art therapy program reception for cancer patients at the Simon Cancer Center.
"Members also make no-sew fleece blankets for pediatric patients, and fund a variety of different initiatives including iPads, infant sleeper sacs, high chairs, IV poles, snack carts, bereavement gifts and resources, pet and massage therapy programs, supplies for art and music therapy programs, support for the palliative care Liam’s Room, nursing scholarships, and for sending children with cancer to summer camp."