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DFS member working from home, sends hundreds of gifts to nurses

By SHERRY HALBROOK

PEF Executive Board member Suzette Grant

When nurses were facing the most extreme challenges of their professional lives in the massive, desperate fight to save the lives of COVID-19 patients, people everywhere were awed and grateful.

PEF Executive Board member Suzette Grant was one of those people. A financial services examiner 3 at the state Department of Financial Services in New York City, she tried to think of a way to support nurses and to express how grateful she was for their heroic efforts

“I’m safely tucked away working from home,” Grant said, “and I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard they were working.”

Grant has a daughter who is a nurse at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, and when the PEF member thought of the long hours nurses were spending on their feet it inspired an idea for a way she could help.

“I was thinking of how tired their feet would be and how their hands would be dried out from all of the sanitizer and gloves they wear,” Grant said, adding that the masks and plastic shields also take a toll on facial skin

Grant moonlights as a Mary Kay products consultant, and she decided to buy some of their foot care and other products to make gift “love package” packets for the nurses.

“I put in Mint Bliss Energizing Lotion for Feet & Legs; samples of Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream; Hand Cream; Skincare; Charcoal Mask and Lip Gloss,” she said.

“She wanted to give them something that could be used and appreciated by both men and women,” said PEF Region 10 Coordinator Darlene Williams.

And what began with giving a few packets to her daughter and her daughter’ coworkers quickly expanded to become more than 200 packets for nurses in New York and even some  in other states

Soon donations were coming in to Grant from many people.

“Mainly it was money from me, my church community, my co-workers, my nieces, friends and Darlene,” Grant said.  “I sent a few of the packets to a cousin and a former classmate in other states, and then their friends sent donations. So, some of the donations are from people that I don’t even know.”

And as the donations came in, the donations went out to nurses in many settings. And just as the money came from many sources, so did the people who stepped up to help deliver the packets to nurses.

The gesture gave rise to many expressions of gratitude from the nurses who received the gifts.

Williams delivered packets to nurses at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center and the NYS Psychiatric Institute in Manhattan, and at Kingsboro and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

“It meant a lot to our nurses to know that Suzette and other people were thinking of them, and wanted to do something special for them.  They really loved the gifts.  I delivered those packets a couple of weeks ago and nurses are still stopping me to ask if I told her thank you.

“I really want to thank Suzette from the bottom of my heart for thinking of this, putting in her own money and so many hours to create the packets,” Williams said.

“I want to say thank you to Darlene and to all of the people who donated and helped get these packets to the nurses,” Grant said.  “I just wish I could have done more.”