Several companies offering free items for nurses during COVID-19 pandemic are doing so as a sign of gratitude and support.
In the weeks since the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, healthcare workers have emerged as heroes on the front lines of a battle against the pandemic.
From meal trains organized on social media to donation drives for PPE and medical equipment, many people are eager to support nurses and other healthcare professionals putting themselves at risk daily to save lives.
“If you know of anyone who works in any aspect of healthcare in any role ― nurse, housekeeper, kitchen support, security officer, doctor, pharmacist, lab technician, supply chain, etc. ― it’s important to keep them in mind at this crucial time,” Terry Hudson-Jinks, RN, MSN, senior vice president and CNO at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center recently told the Huffington Post.
Businesses are finding ways to express their gratitude and ease the burden on the healthcare community through free coffee, food, special offers and other resources. Below are some examples:
Through May 3, participating Starbucks nationwide are providing customers who identify as “front-line first responders” a free tall hot, iced or brewed coffee. First responders who qualify for the offer include nurses, physicians, paramedics, hospital staff and police officers. Starbucks also is donating $500,000 to help support first responders and healthcare workers.
Visit a participating Krispy Kreme every Monday and receive donuts for healthcare workers. “Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru, tell us what you need, and show us your employer badge,” the company said in a news release. “Pick up some free dozens on the way to work for you and your colleagues, or maybe a free dozen on your way home to family after a long shift.”
Dunkin’ recently sent 4,000 pounds of ground coffee, 2,000 boxes of K-Cup pods and 23,000 Dunkin’ gift cards as part of special care packages to 85 hospitals across the country. The chain is planning other special offers and giveaways for the healthcare community as well.
“While these acts are small compared to the sacrifices our healthcare workers and first responders are making, we are hopeful that we’ll get through this by working together and supporting our heroes and our communities,” the company said in a news release.
Tropical Smoothie Café
Healthcare professionals and first responders nationwide can have free smoothies delivered to their teams by contacting a local participating shop. The company has set a goal of giving away 100,000 smoothies to healthcare workers during the pandemic and has dubbed its promotion the “In It Together” campaign.
A national salad chain, participating Sweetgreen locations are offering free food to healthcare staff during the COVID-19 crisis. The company also is organizing a “Feed the Front Line” campaign to encourage the public to buy meals for healthcare workers.
“We’re so grateful for the hospital workers and medical personnel who are putting others before themselves during this critical time,” the company said on its website. “In the midst of the current crisis, we’re dedicating our outpost operations and teams to support those on the front lines by delivering free, fresh Sweetgreen salads and bowls to hospitals in the cities we serve.”
Pizza vs. Pandemic
The pizza delivery app Slice is partnering with other organizations, including Pizza to the Polls, to provide hot meals to hospital and care center staff. The public is encouraged to visit sliceouthunger.org to make a donation to fund the free pizza orders
In the Northeast, Dunkin’ Donuts sampling vans are visiting hospitals to distribute thousands of free cups of coffee and donut hole treats to healthcare workers.
The New York City-based bakery chain is providing free coffee to New York healthcare professionals, as well as the NYPD and the FDNY when they come in uniform or show a valid form of ID.
With locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts, participating &pizza locations are offering healthcare workers and hospital staff a free pizza with a valid hospital ID or by texting 200-03 #HERO for free delivery.
Hospital workers can receive free sandwiches for takeout in the New York City area. The eatery also is delivering food donations to hospital staff and the National Guard.
Free coffee is available for healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters, active military, paramedics, hospital and healthcare staff, and medical researchers at participating Cumberland Farms convenience chain locations. The chain operates mainly in New York, New England and Florida.
Partnerships provide free hotel rooms
Some hotels in the U.S. and UK are providing free rooms for nurses and physicians, according to the Good News Network. Inspired by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s calls to action, Ty Warner, chairman of the company that owns the Four Seasons in mid-town New York City, is opening the five-star hotel to the state for hospital staff.
“Many of those working in New York City have to travel long distances to and from their homes after putting in 18-hour days,” Warner said in a statement. “They need a place close to work where they can rest and regenerate.”
Hilton also is partnering with American Express and several healthcare associations, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, to offer free hotel rooms for healthcare workers at participating Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and other Hilton locations.
Qualifying workers include physicians, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other healthcare professionals needing somewhere to sleep or a place to safely self-isolate from their families.