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Hartford High alumna spearheads care packages for NY health care workers

  • Hartford High School graduate Alanna Ojibway is putting together care packages for health care workers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Alanna Ojibway photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/7/2020 9:20:26 PM
Modified: 4/7/2020 9:20:17 PM

Living in New York City, Hartford High School graduate Alanna Ojibway knew she wanted to do something to help health care workers, including her partner Danny Ramirez, who are caring for patients in one of the hotbeds of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

A friend reached out to Ojibway, offering her $500 to come up with an idea and pursue it.

“I suggested the care packages because I felt like from hearing from my partner and from other friends who are working in the ERs, obviously we can’t be sending them protective equipment and things they need, but there was sort of this gap between the really serious things that they need and the things that can be helpful,” said Ojibway, who grew up in the Upper Valley and worked for area organizations including the Upper Valley Haven before moving to Brooklyn in 2018.

The care packages include nutritious snacks, lotion, lip balm and caffeinated beverages. The finishing touch is a thank-you card from a young girl who lives in the same building as Ojibway and Ramirez, who works as a physician assistant in the ER at Staten Island University Hospital. Ojibway has connected with employees at six hospitals in the New York City-area to distribute them beginning this month.

She does not go to the facilities, instead dropping off the care packages with workers so they can bring them to their colleagues. Snacks are particularly useful as people working in the ER often do not have time to stop and eat a full meal.

“From that initial donation I was able to make 12-15 care packages that I’ve distributed, and that’s what kind of got the ball rolling,” Ojibway said.

After she posted about the care packages on social media, more donations have rolled in that will allow her to make around 25 more. It costs about $30-$40 to put together each package, and she will continue to make them until her they are not needed, or the funding runs out.

She said the care packages could easily be replicated for health care workers around the country and to ask professionals in the area about what their needs are.

“It’s all things that they had specifically identified as things that would be useful for them,” Ojibway said.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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