Bringing out the Best: Flourish of Cullman organizes support for Cullman Regional’s CCU workers

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Critical Care Unit nurses and staff at Cullman Regional were fed by local restaurants for 48 hours, thanks to an effort organized by local nonprofit Flourish of Cullman. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Dew)

CULLMAN, Ala. – “In the South, when we can’t do anything about it, we try to feed people.” That’s how Flourish of Cullman Executive Director Melissa Dew explained the “48 Hours of Caring” the nonprofit organized to show love and support for the Critical Care Unit (CCU) staff at Cullman Regional. With help and donations from local businesses and individuals in the Cullman community, Flourish spent Monday and Tuesday delivering meals and snack baskets to the hospital’s frontline workers and caregivers.

Flourish client Robert Squires is currently on a ventilator at Cullman Regional as he battles COVID-19. Dew’s sister, April Williams, is also on a ventilator, due to an illness other than COVID-19.

“Last week when my sister was in the hospital and we knew Robert was in there, we were trying to think of some way that we could help,” said Dew. “I called to check in on my sister. The nurse was very helpful, but you could hear in her voice the weariness. What they have seen and are witnessing is very traumatic to see that much. It’s got to be hard on them and stressful.”

The Flourish Board of Directors agreed, and the nonprofit began organizing the “48 Hours of Caring.” Soon, donations and offers of help were pouring in from all over Cullman.

Said Dew, “This morning I delivered Jack’s biscuits to the night shift for breakfast at 5:30. Then at 7 this morning, Flavors Bakery donated stuff for them for breakfast.”

For lunch, Dew returned with Johnny’s Bar-B-Q donated by downtown merchant Ashley Mercantile.

Dew said Flourish was blown away by the response from those wanting to pitch in to help.

“We had donations from people in the community and local restaurants like Dreher’s; they are providing food for this afternoon,” she said. “More people started calling saying, ‘Hey we want to give to this,’ and, ‘We think this is a great thing for our community.’”

Southern Eats provided dinner Monday evening, along with Carlton’s. Applebee’s provided dinner Tuesday, and Karma’s Coffee House also donated. The number of donations was so great that Dew was busy Tuesday assembling snack baskets for all the nurses stations at Cullman Regional.

Dew said of the community effort, “I couldn’t imagine on a daily basis having to do what they do. That’s why it is so important as a community to help them because when we come together as a community and do things, it makes us all stronger. It also gives hope to people that this, too, will pass. It’s amazing that our community just jumped in.”

“It brings me to tears to see our community really rallying around our team during this crisis,” said Cullman Regional Vice President, Marketing Lindsey Dossey.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com