When Candace Jones and Jenna Johnson of Idaho Falls, Idaho, saw that health care workers weren’t being celebrated as much as they were in the early days of the pandemic, they wanted to find a way to honor them.
“In March, there was a lot of support. There were people delivering things to hospitals, singing outside of buildings and doing all this stuff. And now it’s just kind of quiet,” Jones told “Good Morning America.” “We just felt like there was a need to say, ‘We still see you. You’re appreciated. Your work’s not going unnoticed’ -- and just bring that energy back.”
So, the two came up with “The Hug In a Cup” initiative, where each health care worker in their community is gifted a Hydro Flask filled with gift cards and other donated items from businesses in their hometown.
Through nominations, individuals from doctors and nurses to receptionists and custodians working in health care facilities who could use an extra boost during these challenging times are shown appreciation through the small token of kindness.
“We want everyone in any health care facility to be recognized,” said Jones.
The inception of this project began in part after Jones and Johnson saw the toll that the pandemic was having on their husbands, who are both health care workers.
“As wives, we were kind of venting to each other about how these health care officials really do care about their patients,” said Jones. “They just don’t clock out and go home and forget about these people.”
Johnson then came up with the idea to reach out to her social media followers to raise money for health care workers. Donations immediately came pouring in overnight and they came up with the idea of gifting hydro flasks filled with gift cards to health care workers.
And when businesses in their community began donating other items to fill the Hydro Flasks with they included those too.
“It was a community effort,” said Johnson. “They donated things for these cups so it was a communal effort to build these cups with love.”
With the help of two other friends, Courtney Adams and Melanie Powell, Johnson and Jones have been able to grow their initiative and get more businesses in the community involved.
They hope to expand their initiative to other communities across the country who are also looking to honor and celebrate health care workers.