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Donations a significant support for patients and families during COVID-19

The non-monetary donation program run by Patient Experience has received generous support from companies and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support has been particularly beneficial for patients and families.
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While the non-monetary donation program run by Patient Experience is a longstanding initiative at BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre and Sunny Hill Health Centre, the generous support the program has received from companies and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly beneficial for patients and families.

The program normally accepts donations of items like art kits, toys and games year-round on behalf of patients. However, since March, donations like toiletries, bed linens and non-perishable food have poured in, making a significant difference in the comfort of patients and families while at the hospital, and, for the first time, benefitted care providers staff, according to Mary MacKillop, Director of Patient Experience.

Analyn Perez, program manager for oncology, hematology and blood and marrow transplant at BC Children’s, says patients and families have appreciated the generous and thoughtful donations during the pandemic and have also been grateful for the extra care taken to individually wrap and sanitize them, particularly for patients with cancer who are immuno-compromised.

“Pediatric cancer doesn’t stop, even in the midst of the pandemic. This essential care has kept our inpatient unit and outpatient clinic busy and full. Many of our inpatients have been admitted for weeks at a time so donations of meals, snacks, and items that were especially difficult to find in stores have been truly appreciated.  It’s one less worry during such an unusual and stressful time. 

“Donations like the full sets of bedding brought so many smiles and have made rooms cozier and more comfortable. Kudos and gratitude to Patient Experience for coordinating and organizing these donations to ensure they get to all the patients and families on campus!”

Catherine Zarchynski, Patient Care Coordinator for BC Women’s Families in Recovery (FIR) Square which cares for expecting and new mothers with substance use challenges and their newborns, shares that the snacks and treats that made their way to the unit have been greatly appreciated. “These items have been really supportive to our patients and their partners and have significantly reduced the amount of time women are off the unit which directly reduces the risk of infection to this already high-risk population!”

Mary also shares that donations are helping to relieve pressure on families of patients staying at the hospital who cannot leave to pick up groceries or other essentials. Often these families are managing a long stay on-site coupled with COVID-19 precautions. One example is a couple who came to BC Womens for the birth of their child and ended up staying at the hospital longer than expected when their newborn required additional care.

They were not expecting  a longer stay,” Mary says, "so being able to provide food and toiletry kits goes a long way.” 

The donations are also helping to provide snacks in high-traffic areas like the Teck Acute Care Centre lobby for convenient pick up on weekends, for care staff who can enjoy snacks in staff rooms, and for family lounges. Mary says this has been greatly appreciated by many including women delivering babies late at night who may benefit from the convenience of a complimentary, quick snack before a well needed rest.

Damian Duffy, whose “day job” is as Executive Director at the Office of Paediatric Surgical Evaluation and Innovation (OPSEI), has been a part of the efforts to create an off-shoot to the existing non-monetary donation program, to help provide similar supports to front-line staff during COVID-19. He established a hand sanitizer program, which provides front-line staff with the opportunity to refill their personal containers from donated jugs. They have recently secured an additional 120L of hand sanitizer, which will be distributed in the coming weeks.

Damian’s team, new to the Non-Monetary Donation Program has been taken aback by the generosity of BC residents who want to help. Local businesses and individual donors want to support patients, families and health care workers who face difficulties accessing grocery stores during the pandemic.

I would like to say thank you to all of our donors who are generously dropping off gifts for our families and frontline staff, every single day,” he says. 

For questions or requests regarding non-monetary donations, please contact C&W Patient Experience by email ( or phone (1-844-874-3267).

Information on how staff can access these donations is available on the C&W Patient Experience page on POD.

For times when staff doesn’t have access to POD, information on donations can be found here: Non-monetary Donations + Gifts to BC Children's, BC Women's and Sunny Hill Staff and Providers.

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