When calls come in to the Access and New Appointment Center at Mass General for Children (MGfC), they are to schedule patient appointments or to learn more about a medical specialty. On September 8, 2016, Patrice Darden, a supervisor in the Access Center, received a particularly unexpected call.
Hotel staff from Aloft Boston Seaport called to offer a delivery of almost 1,000 freshly made bagels and donuts from a hotel event that was cancelled that morning. They asked Darden how to coordinate the delivery because they wanted to make the delicious donation in recognition of NICU Awareness Month in September.
The idea came from a discussion between hotel staff members Erin McGrath and Christy Loy, hotel manager. McGrath, director of sales and marketing for Aloft and Element Boston Seaport, had a personal experience with a special care nursery when her daughter was born in 2015.
“My daughter was born at 34 weeks and spent 10 days in the special care nursery at another hospital. I know how long and lonely those days in the NICU can be for parents and all of the staff made such a difference,” said McGrath. “We wanted to give back to all of the staff who help make those lonely days brighter and more manageable. Mass General is the premier hospital in Boston and many people I know have an affinity for it because of the excellent care they’ve received.”
Nurses, doctors and many other hospital care team members play an important role in caring for families during a vulnerable time, said Anna DeLeo, complex director for marketing and communications at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the company that manages Aloft Boston Seaport. “There are so many behind-the-scenes staff at the hospital who are blessings to families who need their care,” she said. “We thought these treats would be a perfect way to give back and recognize their efforts. We loved seeing the joy on everyone’s faces, knowing we helped make their day a little better.”
In total, Aloft Boston Seaport donated 600 bagels with homemade cream cheese and 500 donuts to MGfC, said Loy. Ten hotel staff helped pack the food into bags and 7 of them drove to the hospital to deliver the still-warm pastries, including McGrath, DeLeo and Darren Sylvin, the hotel’s executive chef. Darden, hotel and Access Center staff, Mass General volunteers Lorraine Dennis and Henrietta Ford and MGfC’s Lisa Milone then divided and conquered to distribute throughout the hospital. The team delivered the treats to Ellison 17 and 18, the NICU, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, both newborn nurseries, all specialty outpatient clinics, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Pediatric Primary Care, Pediatric Imaging and Pediatrics Administration.
“It really brightened our day and everyone had a great time. It was smiles all around and everything was so delicious! We are also honored that Aloft Boston Seaport thought of MGfC and our dedicated staff who care for our patients and families when they need it the most,” said Milone, administrative director of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Medical Genetics, and the pediatric outpatient clinics at Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care –Danvers and Mass General at Blue Hills Medical Center-Braintree.