Baskets for Buffalo

How do you demonstrate genuine compassion and concern for nurses and other health workers who’ve been traumatized by a workplace shooting? As NCF staff prayed this spring for the employees at the Allina Health Care Clinic and hospital in the small town of Buffalo, Minnesota, they asked that question. In February this year, a shooting at the clinic had wounded several employees; one later died.

This community holds special meaning for Christy Secor, NCF’s Director of Professional Ministries. Christy had worked at the hospital and knew this community had already been traumatized by the tragic deaths of two physicians and a staff member killed due to domestic violence. Christy knew Buffalo was a community where neighbors cared for neighbors. This shooting added to the previous trauma of the staff at the clinic and the hospital.

The answer to prayer, in part, was preparing and delivering baskets of food and a card—for each of the 600+ employees working in over 28 departments at the location. NCF leaders felt this small gesture would let each person at the clinic and hospital know they were being thought of and prayed for.

“We wanted to be able to include food and prayer, and with COVID restrictions, individual portions and a card seemed like the best option,” said Katharine Provost, an NCF Campus Staff Minister who lives near Buffalo. “Knowing that there is often an outpouring of support immediately following a tragedy, we wanted to do something a bit later. We also felt it was important to be able to include the whole Buffalo Allina community as well as all shifts.”

On June 1, the four-month anniversary of the shooting, Katharine arrived at the clinic with the baskets that included fresh and non-perishable fruits, Kind bars, granola/nut/protein snacks, Starbucks instant coffee, and Ghirardelli chocolates--“a combo of healthy and comfort foods easily eaten on the run and a card to take home,” Katharine explained. Another smaller delivery of baskets came later for employees of the Crossroads Clinic staff who were not yet back to work at the site.

While snacks and a card can’t assuage all the pain and wounds the clinic staff have experienced, the baskets and prayers were gratefully received. “They were very thankful, excited, and surprised by the amount and concern shown,” Katharine said.

Mona Volden, RN, a manager at Allina Health, acknowledged the gift and the personalized care for the staff: “Thanks so much to you and your volunteers for the treat baskets for our staff. This was so nice of you. As you know, it’s been a very challenging year for so many and our employees were hit very hard by the attack on our clinic.”

Clinic staff also expressed their appreciation:

            “The oranges were fantabulous.”

            “It was so nice to be thought of, and know our mental health matters, too.”

            “This is awesome. Thank you!”

            “It is nice to have healthy treats.”

            “Thanks for the gift basket and prayers for everyone here.”

“Our care for each other matters,” Christy affirmed. “We never fully know the burdens others around us are carrying. Being able to acknowledge that pain, even through simple ways of caring, can have an impact.”

Pray is a central focus of NCF. Staff and volunteers pray for nurses, nurse groups, students, and faculty. Receive the monthly NCF prayer calendar details specific needs and God’s answers, submit your own request or become part of a prayer team. You can also pray live with other nurses and NCF staff every Sunday night.


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