Duke Human Resources is taking an extra step to ensure Duke employees feel supported in their battle with COVID-19 by delivering care packages to employees recovering from the virus.
Rhonda Brandon, chief human resources officer and senior vice president for Duke Health System, said the idea to deliver care packages sprang up during a brainstorming session around how to show employees – mostly front line healthcare workers who are sick with and recovering from COVID-19 – that Duke leadership is thinking of them.
“We want to offer a sense of comfort and put a smile on their faces,” Brandon said. “Our mission is to care for the community. It’s a natural extension of who we are as an organization to extend compassion to one another.”
So far, 88 packages have been delivered to homes around the Triangle area and as far away as Southern Virginia.
Duke University Stores and Duke Health Marketing & Communications donated items such as blankets, journals and water bottles for the care packages. Durham businesses Parker and Otis and Burt’s Bees provided soups, chocolates, grits, tea and skincare products. The packages also include masks and a card signed by Duke Health and Duke University leaders.
Laura Lockamy, chief of staff to Duke University Hospital President Thomas Owens, helped pack nearly 150 care packages to deliver to employees.
“For those of us who aren’t on the front lines providing direct patient care, this is one way we are able to give back and support our fellow team members who have been sick,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone is being cared for, patients and staff alike.”
While deliveries are contact-free, Antwan Lofton, assistant vice president for Staff and Labor Relations and Staff and Family Programs in Duke Human Resources, has exchanged a few waves to employees who greet him from behind windows and doors when he delivers packages.
“We don’t want anyone to feel alone when they’re battling COVID-19,” Lofton said. “We don’t value you for the work you produce for Duke. We value and appreciate you more for who you are.”