Millville community helps residents and Beebe Healthcare
By David Szumski, Beebe Medical Foundation
The CDC Public Health Blog says, “A healthy community is one in which local groups from all parts of the community work together to prevent disease and make healthy living accessible.” Throughout Sussex County, there is evidence of neighborhoods coming together for the purpose of promoting and maintaining healthy living community-wide. There is no question that these communities are having a positive impact and helping to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As Beebe Healthcare’s South Coastal Emergency Department and Cancer Center was being constructed across the street from the Millville by the Sea community, residents watched and waited, eager to be good neighbors and find ways to support their healthcare system. In mid-March 2020 when COVID-19 hit, Hilanne Myers, a resident of Millville by the Sea, reached out to Beebe Healthcare to find out if there was a need for fabric masks.
“Beebe’s positive response set in motion a group of MBTS stitchers busily sewing fabric masks,” said Hilanne. “Our goal was to supply masks to our MBTS neighbors, as well as to Beebe for distribution through the Population Health Department. After the initial deliveries of masks, a second wave of production hit when masks became mandatory in public places.”
While many were busy sewing masks, another resident was not sure she could master her never-used sewing machine quickly enough to be productive making masks. She noticed on Facebook that there were nurses finding that the mask elastic was irritating their ears. So she led an effort to sew buttons on hairbands so the elastic could be looped on the buttons, making mask wearing more comfortable.
“Neighbors rallied around the projects underway by providing materials, stitching masks, sewing buttons on hairbands and offering money to support the projects,” said Patti Zentz. “Another neighbor stepped up and coordinated the effort so that the people looking to help financially would direct their contributions to the #CRUSHCORONA campaign underway to express appreciation and encourage the Beebe Healthcare team members. Our neighborhood efforts provided over 300 fabric masks, over 400 headbands and numerous donations of restaurant gift cards for Beebe team members.”
Dr. David Tam, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, said, “Our neighbors at the Millville by the Sea community are so very generous, and stand ready and willing to get involved to make a difference, whether it be in their neighborhood or for our greater Sussex County community. We need to continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. Please remember to continue to wear your masks. It’s an important thing that is scientifically proven to help reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
“Continue to practice physical distancing. It’s like wearing your seat belt and having an air bag, at the same time. And finally, continue to wash your hands, and try to stay away from large crowds. And that’s the way we’re going to continue to fight this COVID-19 pandemic. Please help us to help you by staying safe this fall.”
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 support Beebe’s COVID-19 Relief Fund or to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received at Beebe, visit www.beebemedicalfoundation.org, call 302-644-2900 or send your story to Amanda Neal at [email protected].
Caption: Volunteers from the Millville by the Sea community gather to celebrate their contributions to help Beebe Healthcare fight COVID-19. Shown are (l-r) Karen Bagnell, Diane Isaac, Hilanne Myers, Donna Hennessy, Maureen Walker, Lisa Parrino, Monica Caselli, Patti Zentz, Laura Cord-Ludlow, Diane Manieri, and Carol Graham.