St. Francis Hospital staff thank Federal Way community for support during virus outbreak

From medical supplies and meals to coffee and handwritten notes, emergency department staff say they feel the love from Federal Way.

Emergency Department staff smile for a photo outside of St. Francis Hospital with a sign thanking community members for their support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo

Emergency Department staff smile for a photo outside of St. Francis Hospital with a sign thanking community members for their support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo

A concrete barrier outside of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way reads “We got this.”

The hospital employees who wrote the message truly believe it, said Emergency Department Clinical Manager Chantel Arnone, especially with the support of the local community through donations of snacks, protective gear and handwritten notes.

As of April 2, there have been 76 positive COVID-19 test results and one death due to the virus in Federal Way, according to a King County Public Health data dashboard.

Arnone has worked at St. Francis for 12 years and oversees about 120 employees in the emergency department — a stressful place to be during this time, she said.

“Our staff are facing something relatively unknown, that alone is stressful for people,” Arnone said. Saving lives is the top priority of medical personnel, but now with an added layer of worry with increased risk of catching the virus and having to wear uncomfortable protective gear for long shifts day after day.

“All of that combined is really creating a stressful environment for all hospital staff,” Arnone said.

Nothing compares to this type of pandemic, or the outpouring of generosity from Federal Way locals.

In the last few weeks, staff at St. Francis have received donations almost daily of coffee, pizza deliveries, snacks, gloves, pens, masks, hand-sewn surgical caps, hand sanitizer and other much-appreciated treats.

Shelley Pauls, founder and coordinator of We Love Our City nonprofit, was one of the first groups to deliver a plethora of gifts to St. Francis.

“We decided as a group we really wanted to cheer on our healthcare workers and appreciate all they’re doing,” Pauls said of We Love Our City, a network of local churches.

Balancing work and home lives is a challenging juggle for healthcare workers right now, Pauls said.

We Love Our City has made four donation trips, starting with a St. Patrick’s Day party and themed treats around March 17. Other donations trips by WLOC have supplied hospital workers with drinks, snacks, gift cards, healthy food items and thank you cards. Donna Cox from Light of Christ Community Garden and volunteers from the Federal Way Senior Center have sewn many of the masks delivered to staff.

For staff, standing out among the gifts are the handwritten notes and cards with words of gratitude, Arnone said. Some students from a local elementary school even wrote notes of encouragement.

“Staff have really appreciated the handwritten notes,” she said. “It really brought the spirits up of staff to read those notes and feel like our community is supporting them in this time.”

Despite the pandemic stress and worries, Arnone said the emergency department is a strong team that has come together in a tough situation.

Speaking on behalf of the hospital staff, Arnone said they are so thankful for every single donation, and appreciate knowing their community is standing behind them.

“I don’t have enough words to say how much we appreciate it,” she added.

Healthcare professionals do still urge residents to stay home so hospital staff can continue to serve patients in need during this time, although donations are welcome.

St. Francis continues to accept donations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the hospital’s loading dock, located on the west side of the building past the Emergency Services Department, 34515 9th Ave. S., Federal Way. Most items need to be single serving, prepackaged and nonperishable.

Sought after items include cash gifts, new N-95 masks, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, standard medical masks, handwritten notes, and other resources to help medical workers through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

And, Arnone added, most nurses enjoy coffee.

For more information on donations to St. Francis Hospital, visit chifranciscan.org.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

A sign made by the St. Francis Emergency Department expresses the staff’s gratitude for recent donations of snacks and encouraging notes. Courtesy photo

A sign made by the St. Francis Emergency Department expresses the staff’s gratitude for recent donations of snacks and encouraging notes. Courtesy photo

A recent donation includes Happy Teriyaki meals from a former St. Francis doctor. Courtesy photo

A recent donation includes Happy Teriyaki meals from a former St. Francis doctor. Courtesy photo

Photo courtesy of Shelley Pauls

Photo courtesy of Shelley Pauls

More in News

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

Todd Keeney, president of the Federal Way Washington Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presents a check towards diapers for FWPS families to Laura Batcheller, ECEAP/Head Start (ESTART) program manager​ of Federal Way Public Schools. Courtesy photo
Local LDS church donates to families of FWPS Early Learning program

The donations included hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, and a six-month supply of diapers for 460 kids, and more.

Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
City of Federal Way to close Steel Lake Park

The park will be closed indefinitely to visitors starting Thursday, Aug. 13.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Upcoming drive-in movies at the PAEC

Free showing of Toy Story 4 at 8:40 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15

Photo courtesy of Bruce Honda
A sweet success: FWPD drive-thru ice cream social serves more than 1,500 residents

The event, paid for by local businesses, raised about $4,500 for Washington Special Olympics.

Two homes struck by gunfire | Federal Way police blotter

In two separate incidents, officers found evidence of a shooting; no injuries resulted from incidents

barry johnson
Local artist’s work beautifies transformation of Federal Way’s downtown

Federal Way resident barry johnson created an “Our Federal Way” mural to be displayed outside of the Sound Transit construction site of incoming link extension.

South King Fire rescue swimmers search for a man underwater at Steel Lake Park on Aug. 8. Photo courtesy of South Sound Media Production
Man in critical condition after drowning at Steel Lake

Rescue swimmers pulled the man from the lake on Saturday evening, Aug. 8.

Most Read