Making Busy Bags for kids in Beebe’s Emergency Departments
By Beth Kent
My husband Michael and I work in the Beebe Healthcare Emergency Department. I am a registered nurse, and Mike is a full-time Vascular Access Team RN with casual positions in the ED and Emergency Nursing Intervention Team. I also work in a casual position for Behavioral Health. This means our daughters Charlotte, age 6, and Caroline, age 7, know firsthand that a hospital ED is a busy place. Our schedules are little crazy at times, but the girls very much understand that mommy and daddy’s jobs are to help people who come to the ED when they are sick or hurt.
Some years ago, the girls decided to start giving back to the community on their birthdays. So, every year to celebrate their special day, we collect donations for a charity. This year, Caroline decided she wanted to “help sick kids in the ED where Mommy and Daddy work.” We tossed around several ideas and ended up deciding we would collect donations and make Busy Bags as gifts for children who found themselves in the ED.
We wanted to make bags for Beebe’s Emergency Departments in both Millville and Lewes. We posted on Facebook asking for donations, and the response was incredible. So many people wanted to support the girls’ idea, and our whole family was thrilled.
With the funds we raised, the family went shopping. We bought coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals, markers, books, toys and lots of bags! The girls transformed our dining table into a Busy Bag production line and then went to work stuffing the bags. While they stuffed, they were asking a lot of questions about sick kids in the ED and how the staff there helps them. They kept saying things like, "I hope this helps a little girl feel better," and, "I made this one for a little boy; I hope it helps him be less scared."
Charlotte is very organized and took her job seriously. She organized the bags by color, category and character. She kept saying, "Mommy, I bet they will like this one; there's so much fun stuff."
Caroline had fun preparing the bags for the babies, and she understood that they only needed a "stuffy and a book, no little items." She also loved making the bags that had Bluey and Pokémon, saying, "These are the best; it'll make the kids so happy." It took a few days to stuff more than 150 Busy Bags. The girls would get up in the morning and start stuffing all by themselves. They even had some of the neighborhood kids helping.
Mike and I distributed the Busy Bags between the two facilities as our schedules permitted. The response was fantastic. Charlotte and Caroline actually joined us for a visit and a photo in the South Coastal Emergency Department. The smiles on their faces speak volumes.
My husband and I are obviously proud parents. It’s an amazing feeling to see your children reaching out to care for others in their community, people they will likely never see or meet. Michael and I are also proud to be a part of the One Beebe family. As Beebe team members, we are proud to provide excellent care to our community with each patient we care for. And, in their actions of kindness, our daughters have done the same in a very special way.
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at beebemedicalfoundation.org or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at [email protected].