In times of tragedy, goodness wins
When wildfires ripped through our communities last week, destroying homes and devastating lives, the response from Asante employees was overwhelming. Overnight, the Smullin Center, the building most of us know for meetings and training, was converted into a shelter and then to a drop-off site for the hundreds of donations that poured in.
Asante ITS quickly established a Fire Assistance SharePoint site, where employees can connect. In its first four hours, the site had more than 30 posts offering to shelter employees, a number that has since grown to more than 70. Employees are offering to babysit, run errands and provide clothing for their co-workers.
Asante Foundation is offering $1,000 to cover expenses for employees directly affected by the fire. The Employee Food Pantry is open for those who need food and as a donation center where people can donate clothing and household items for employees who have been displaced. ARRMC extended hours for its cafeteria and coffee bars to help those working longer hours during the internal triage.
Those are just the formal support systems. Informally, Asante employees are helping each other through social media connections. Some employees are offering to foster pets; others are lending their driveways for RVs. One physician offered to pay for a seven-night stay in a hotel for a displaced family. People are donating bunk beds so that spare rooms can accommodate more people. An employee who is also a licensed hairstylist offered free haircuts. Alisia Cook, an Asante health educator, is organizing free home-cooked meals.
The spontaneous outpouring of support and compassion — and the simple gratitude of those accepting it — have touched those involved in unexpected ways.
“I was literally moved to tears watching families go through aisles to select a few pieces of clothing, bedding or food,” said Eric Loeliger, MD, who volunteered at Smullin. “At every step, I heard thanks, appreciation and I witnessed unlimited reciprocal empathy. There were no acts of selfishness, and that by itself was inspiring. We are living in troubled times, and to see the best of people in these circumstances is uplifting. I am convinced again that kindness matters. Selflessness is far superior to selfishness. Goodness wins.”
Behind the scenes at Smullin Center
If you have a question, please contact the author or relevant department directly.