Kelsie Powell delivered gift baskets to nurses at Salem Hospital in September to lift their spirits. (Courtesy/ Kelsie Powell)

Kelsie Powell wanted a way to lift the spirits of nurses like herself.

She teaches nursing at Chemeketa Community College and said, “things have gotten really overwhelming and hard.”

Powell said there are a lot of health care workers experiencing burnout and she’s had days off where she felt really low or cried for a week straight. She also works as a nurse.

As Salem Hospital fills to near capacity with seriously ill Covid patients, maintaining service is taking a toll on health care workers who are putting in more overtime to make sure beds can be filled.

The Dallas resident and Salem Hospital nurse took to Facebook, posting on the Dallas community page about her experience.

“As a nurse myself, I’ve hit the lowest I have ever been in my career. And nearly everyone around me feels the same. My heart hurts for healthcare professionals. The world is heavy and they are carrying so much of the weight. I wanted to do something to remind healthcare workers are appreciated, loved, and seen. And to hopefully brighten their days, fill their cups, and help them fight this fight with a bit more fire,” Powell wrote to Salem Reporter.

On Facebook she asked if people would donate money, gifts or even just type some words of encouragement for local health care workers.

At first, she thought she would get $50 in donations and be able to deliver one gift basket to the intensive care unit at Salem Hospital.

Instead, she got $500 and hundreds more in-kind donations from businesses that contributed items like candles, scones and beauty products.

She was able to make 15 gift baskets and delivered them to different units at the hospital over the past couple weeks.

“When you get to your shift everyone is in the mindset of ‘Okay, here’s another 12 hours I have to get through,’” she said.

When she showed up with a gift basket filled with goodies, like Dutch Bros. gift cards and blueberry scones, she said nurses were speechless.

“They just felt really loved and heard and it took them a second away from their work. (They’re) not in this isolated moment of trying to survive this shift,” she said.

Powell said the outpouring of support was the result of a single Facebook post.

She hopes it will encourage more people to reach out to people working in the medical field and do something kind to let them know, “Hey, I know you’re going through a lot right now, your community supports you.”

Through a single Facebook post, Kelsie Powell got hundreds of dollars of donations and donated 15 gift baskets to different units at Salem Hospital to lift the spirits of those working there. (Courtesy/ Kelsie Powell)

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, saphara@salemreporter.com.

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