Open Accessibility Menu

Patient Experience Team Delivers Groceries to the Underserved

  • Category: COVID-19
  • Posted On:
Patient Experience Team Delivers Groceries to the Underserved

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

The impact of the Salinas Valley Health Community and Staff Support Project can be told with some pretty impressive numbers. At last count, 84 employees in the redeployment initiative have contributed 1650 hours outside of their regular roles to help fight COVID-19. The project is an innovative response to the dramatic decrease in demand for medical services. It gives skilled and compassionate employees a chance to maintain their regular pay while giving back and supporting the community. As with most stories in healthcare, the data alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

In a world now defined by keeping your distance, it’s nice to know when small gestures create a personal connection with a big impact. Picture in your mind, a chain reaction, put in motion with a phone call.

“I was just going down my list, asking our patients how they’re doing,” says Olga Morales, a redeployed Community Health Advocate with the Salinas Valley Health Salinas Valley Health Mobile Clinic. “Simple questions like do you have support at home, all the medication you need and enough food on hand. The older woman on the other end of this particular call hesitated and then replied, “No, I don’t have much food.”

Marissa lives in an underserved neighborhood with no access to regular meals and her family members are tending to their own medical challenges. Olga glanced at the brown paper bags full of food in the corner office and shared her conversation with Ihovana Aquirre, RN at Salinas Valley Health. As they often do, members of the patient experience team go above and beyond to achieve excellence. Therefore, Ihovana didn’t just see an opportunity to deliver a bag of groceries. With social distancing in mind, Ihovana carried the items into the kitchen and when she pulled open the refrigerator door, she found something even she didn’t expect.

“There was absolutely nothing in the fridge. Not one thing,” said Ihovana. “During the next couple of days I was able to pick-up and deliver eggs, bread, peanut butter and other staples. It felt good knowing this sweet, 89-year-old woman had the nutrition she needed and that we facilitated a long term, reliable meal delivery solution.”

Every day since their redeployment assignment three weeks ago, Olga and others go through pages of names, dialing a sequence of numbers that most often result in a friendly conversation and patients knowing that Salinas Valley Health is here for them in times of health and during crisis. Sometimes though, there is a situation like what happened with Marissa and the Salinas Valley Health team. A bigger connection gets made that fills the heart.

There’s 84 redeployed workers at Salinas Valley Health, devoting a total of 1650 hours and counting. Community support and similar impacts are taking place at Dorothy’s Kitchen, Salvation Army, various masking stations and undisclosed locations that house quarantined individuals with COVID-19. Learn more at

Sign Up For Our E-Newsletter

We are providing our community with health and wellness information. If you would like to receive these e-newsletters, sign up below.