L.A. gives back to its COVID-19 heroes

To the doctors and nurses of L.A., the community thanks you.


On April 10, LAC + USC Medical Center’s staff received orchids from Westerlay Orchids.

Since February, COVID-19 has been a taboo topic: it’s simultaneously everyone’s biggest concern and the one thing nobody wants to address. The virus has forced students and non-essential workers to work from home. The same cannot be said about essential workers, such as those belonging in the medical field.

For the staff at LAC + USC Medical Center in L.A, activity within the hospital’s walls has skyrocketed. Like all hospitals throughout the world, LAC + USC Medical Center’s Emergency Room (ER) is packed with patients. Besides the ER, the hospital’s other units are filled to capacity with patients of various diagnoses. Every staff member – from the doctors to the nurses to the nursing attendants – is doing their part in accommodating these patients. 

Containing COVID-19 creates stress among the workers. On a daily basis, the medical staff face a shortage of supplies, including face masks and scrubs. There are also a select few of patients’ relatives who force their way past security to visit their loved ones, but are unable to because of the pandemic. 

To give back to these COVID-19 heroes, local L.A. businesses visit LAC + USC Medical Center with free treats for the staff. On April 10, the special gift was a vase of orchids for each hospital caretaker. This gift is special to the hospital because ORCHID is the name of their electronic medical record system. The gift came from the florist company Westerlay Orchids who most definitely knew about the hospital’s orchid ties.

“It’s nice that we get these gifts,” said Unit 4B MICU nurse manager Rosa Ugaz. “Also, it’s good to feel appreciated by the community.”

At Verdugo Hills Hospital and Glendale Memorial Hospital, volunteers such as the Glendale Teachers Association support the hospital staff from the comfort of their homes. “I reached out to VHH and Glendale to arrange for a time and department in the hospital to deliver to,” said Crescenta Valley High School teacher and Board of Directors of the Glendale Teachers Association member Alicia Harris. “From there, I ordered on Postmates enough individually wrapped meals for each employee… and plenty extra!”

Delivering breakfast to these hospitals was the Glendale Teachers Association’s way of thanking the staff for their efforts. For Harris, it was her way of thanking a former student. “A former student of mine back when I taught at Roosevelt Middle School and a Clark grad, Misak Anyan, is a nurse in {VHH’s} ICU,” Harris said. “It felt really good to thank him personally.”

By providing the staff with gifts, the small businesses and volunteers show their support for the frontline workers. Small businesses also receive publicity and recognition for their efforts when the nurses post selfies with their food online. The nurses receive a token of appreciation – often food – for their services and they continue working, knowing their community will support them.