What do you want? What do you need?
January 24, 2021 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I want to do something for people that are providing vaccine. What should that be?

I volunteered at a vaccination clinic on Friday, and spoke briefly with one of the people actually putting shots in arms at about 4PM. He'd been there since 6.30AM and wouldn't leave until 7PM, and he said he's been keeping up that schedule 5-6 days a week, since the vaccine became available.

My next scheduled shift to volunteer at this clinic is in just under a month, and after hearing the story of these people who are, like many in the medical profession these days, working themselves to exhaustion to get people vaccinated, I thought I should do something nice for the shot providers. But what?

There are two people actually giving shots, and two others doing support work (checking in people for their appointments, etc). My original thought was, like, to get each of them a Starbucks card or something, but that seems very...generic, and also relies on them to actually do something to get the nice gesture I want to give, and they may not have time or energy to do that.

Are you a health care provider working your butt off right now? If so, what sort of thing would be good as a gift or token of appreciation for everything you're doing to help the rest of us get through this whole thing? What would make you happy or bring you a tiny bit of "yay" in the midst of a grueling series of very long days?
posted by pdb to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From a family member who is running covid clinics: coffee or lunch. Boxed lunch of some sort. Portable snacks.
She says that her institution provides that stuff but not all do.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:30 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A Starbucks (or better: local café) card is never the wrong answer for healthcare providers.

Some of my patients have brought in homemade cookies in little individual goodie bags, that's even better! In the before times, a giant tin of cookies for sharing in the workroom during breaks -- that's verboten right now, but the goodie bags were just brilliant (and really hard not to eat em all at once)!
posted by basalganglia at 5:32 PM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

PS we tried a boxed lunch rotation for our ICU staff and got slapped on the wrist for it. Best to stick with things they can enjoy off-site.
posted by basalganglia at 5:34 PM on January 24, 2021

Dinner delivered at 7pm? And maybe advocate to your local/state government for spending money to have more people doing the work.
posted by bashing rocks together at 6:10 PM on January 24, 2021

Response by poster: @bashing rocks together - this is actually a clinic being run by local government (who I work for). This is only one of several clinic locations we have, so we probably won't get more individual workers at our site, since we have multiple sites to staff at this point.

@basalganglia - I would normally prefer local over Starbucks but I don't know where these providers actually live, and local to me may not be local to them, so I think it's probably safer to go the Starbucks route since they're local to everyone (well, not local, but you know).
posted by pdb at 7:45 PM on January 24, 2021

What about bringing in a box of high quality coffee for the staff? (Starbucks and Peets each sell these, I'm sure others do too.
posted by metahawk at 9:47 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Why not a Visa (or similar) gift card instead of one that is shop-specific? That way they can use it where they want. Some might want starbucks but others may want to use it to buy something for their kid, etc.
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 10:38 PM on January 24, 2021

It made the staff at my dad’s nursing home super happy when I brought in fresh fruit. I think you are right to avoid handing out Starbucks cards just because that involves going to a Starbucks and the whole point as you mention is to make life easier for them. If you’re only talking about four people at that particular clinic, and if you can afford it, can you call the week before and ask for lunch orders or snack orders? Then you can hand out individual bags to each person with the kind of stuff they truly want. It’s not the kind of thing you can do for a big operation but it might make those four people feel truly appreciated. Also, thanks for volunteering, that’s awesome!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:57 AM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

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