In an effort to give back to the healthcare heroes working around the clock to battle COVID-19, the community has raised more than $18,000 in donations to supply complimentary coffee to all Stony Brook University Hospital staff.
Headed by community members Holly Smugala, Patti Kozlowski, Nicole Volpini and Stefanie Devery, the group started when Volpini’s sister, a healthcare worker at the Hospital, snapped a photo of the Hospital’s Starbucks, which is adorned with photos and positive messages. Instead, said Smugala, something else jumped out at them.
“We noticed all the staff waiting online for coffee and wanted to do something to give back to them,” she said.
The women began a social media donation page dedicated to the cause shortly after. The funds donated go towards purchasing Starbucks gift cards at the hospital location, which can be used by any hospital employee that is working during the pandemic, from doctors and nurses to custodians and administrative staff.
In order to enable healthcare workers of all shifts to be able to enjoy the benefit, the group worked out a plan with Starbucks in which $250 gift cards are used at different intervals during the day to pay for the drinks of any staff member that comes in.
“We set an initial goal of $1,000, but we reached that in about an hour. Now, we just want to see how much it will grow. We don’t know how long this is going to go on and we don’t want to stop until it stops,” said Smugala.
Those who are interested in donating to the cause can visit the group’s Facebook page, Starbucks for Stony Brook Superstars.
“We are so thankful to be able to give back, because Stony Brook has touched all of our lives in one way or another. We are very thankful for everyone at Stony Brook,” Smugala added.