SERV consumers thank local healthcare heroes

A package containing dozens of cards arrived at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton on Monday, April 6. On one card, two smiling bumble bees buzzed above a sunflower. On another, rays of sunlight illuminated the words “Stay Strong,” which were scrawled in bold, blue ink.

This was the work of SERV consumers from group homes in Mercer County. Over the past week, these artists have spent their shutdown time hunched over desks, drawing and crafting messages they hoped would bolster the spirits of essential workers and patients dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

Kelly Rufe, Director of SERV Centers Mercer County, oversaw the project, working in partnership with the Medical Center’s Director of Patient Experience, Margaret France.   

“During these challenging and uncertain times, it is important to remember the power of moral support and giving back,” Rufe said.

“Our consumers in Mercer County wanted to thank the heroes on the frontlines for all they are doing. They also hoped their cards would bring smiles to the faces of the patients who are suffering.”

Lately, Rufe has been paying close attention to the emotional well-being of consumers as they cope with the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Though some consumers have expressed anxiety and distress, she said, the staff has helped to alleviate many of their concerns through activities and insightful conversation.

“It’s difficult to comprehend the enormity of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it continues to have on all our lives,” Rufe said.

“Whether it’s watching a movie, completing a crossword puzzle, or getting out for a walk and a little fresh air—sometimes we need to break from the reality of our situation, and even the simplest things can provide some respite.”

In the coming weeks, Rufe plans to arrange several new activities for the consumers in Mercer County. One in particular that she is excited for is a trip to a drive-through Tulip Trail at Holland Ridge Farms in Cream Ridge.

COVID-19 Updates