Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, health care workers became known as "health care heroes" and received moments of applause in what became a nightly routine in different cities across the U.S.
Now, as the pandemic continues and hospital intensive care unit beds fill to near capacity, people are finding new ways to support health care workers during the holiday season, according to Good Morning America.
Christine Danderland, a makeup artist in Nebraska, decided she wanted to help after seeing the stress felt by her own mom, a registered nurse in Nebraska who works directly with hospitalized COVID-19 patients, wrote Good Morning America.
Danderland, who, along with her husband and daughter battled COVID-19 earlier this year, started a Facebook page where she thought a few dozen friends and family members could sign up to fulfill Amazon wish lists made by her mom's colleagues, as stated in Good Morning America.
Three weeks later, Danderland's Facebook page, "Adopt a Nurse/Health Care Worker," now has over 1,000 health care workers and counting, around the world, according to Good Morning America.
"We tried to keep track of how many were gifted but found that was insurmountable and lost track at 1,000," Danderland told Good Morning America. "It's grown into this thing that I could have never seen coming."
Support has come not only from the public donating to health care workers-- everything from slippers to food, but also from other health care workers stepping up to help, Dunbar said to Good Morning America.
In Arkansas, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences volunteer coordinator Marcia Dunbar oversees a new project that allows local business and community members to "adopt" its units of health care workers, according to Good Morning America.
People have been baking cookies, sending pizzas, snacks and even making homemade Christmas ornaments for health care workers, who Dunbar told Good Morning America, are running the hospital without the usual army of volunteers that typically comes to help.
"That's almost double the workload," Dunbar said of the lack of volunteers to Good Morning America. "While they show up with smiles and this sheer drive to do their jobs and save lives, it's a very difficult time for them."
Alisa Carlock, and ICU nurse at UAMS for the past 13 years, told Good Morning America that receiving treats from the public is both a "recharge" and a reminder that health care workers are valued.
"It sounds crazy but a 50-cent bag of chips means the world to us because we know that someone is thinking of us," Carlock said to Good Morning America. "It means so much that somebody is out there saying, 'Hey we're thinking of you and here's a small token."
Carlock described to Good Morning America how working four of five 12-hour shifts per week for the past several months and said her job is as stressful as ever now with ICU beds filled with Covid-19 patients.
Some of the best surprises Carlock and her colleagues receive, she told Good Morning America, are when former patients "adopt" their unit, or just send a simple note to thank them.