(PATCH) FOREST HILLS, QUEENS — A Girl Scouts troop in Forest Hills is collecting pillows, blankets and other basic necessities to help Elmhurst Hospital patients keep comfortable while they recover.
Members of Girl Scouts troop 4413 started the initiative in early April with the help of Dr. Suzanne Bentley, who works in Elmhurst Hospital's emergency room.
The Girl Scouts have since donated hundreds of blankets and medical pillows to the city-run hospital, which was among the first to become overwhelmed by an influx of patients with the new coronavirus.
Doctors use medical pillows to position coronavirus patients on their stomachs, a technique called "proning" that helps them breathe better.
"The patients are so happy about the blankets — and the staff too," Bentley said. "It's the closest thing to a hug we can offer to patients. It's such a beautiful thing! Plus, I love seeing the rainbow blanket array in the ER."
Other donated items include phone chargers, ear plugs, eye masks, deodorant, lotion, lip balm, bottled water and — naturally — boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
Girl Scouts troop 4413 also partnered with sister troops 4414 and 4940 to craft painted rocks and thank-you cards to show their appreciation for the health care workers at Elmhurst Hospital.
Forest Hills resident Annie Siu, who has three daughters in those Girl Scout troops, used to work as a geriatric nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist, so she knows firsthand how meaningful such donations can be.
"This is a very difficult time. Health care workers want to help patients get better and feel better, and the pillows, blankets and comfort items all help," said Siu, a leader with Girl Scouts troops 4413, 4414 and 4940. "It's important to get girls involved and help with the community when they can."
Click here to learn more about the Girl Scouts troops' initiative and how to contribute.