“I just saw how stressed and overworked she and her coworkers were and thought about, you know, what a way we can give back and show our support,” she told CNN.
She only expected her friends to see it, but the group grew to over 12,000 members in just over three weeks and hundreds of health workers were adopted.
“We lost count when we hit a thousand,” Danderand said.
“If you read a lot of Amazon links, they want compression socks, or a new pair of shoes, or a cup of coffee, some candy,” she says. “Just little things that brighten their minds when they come home from work at the end of the day. ”
The gifts have come from grateful members of the public, doctors, who adopt entire hospital units, and even other nurses.
She said she heard from a lot of people who made new friends through the group.
“It’s not just a freebies page anymore. It’s something where they have the support of their peers, ”she said.
Danderand said she, her husband and daughter all had Covid-19 in October. They are fine and have never had to be hospitalized, but it has given him a firsthand understanding of what healthcare workers face.
She says she spends about four hours a day leading the group and that she recruited three of her friends to help her.
One of her new volunteers is a hospice nurse and was one of the first people adopted by the group.
“I have a coloring book for nurses and a lunch box because I travel a lot for work,” Kris Epps-Martinez told CNN affiliate KETV.
She told KETV that she adopted other nurses to get him going.
“I face death all the time,” Epps-Martinez said. “These other nurses are not used to this. It’s hard for them. They face death, but not like this.
Danderand had only planned to lead the group for a few weeks, but says it doesn’t seem right to stop now as the number of cases is skyrocketing.
Health officials have identified more than 15 million cases of Covid-19 across the United States since January and more than 294,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“We have these people going to work day in and day out, and they’re exhausted, and they leave work in tears,” Danderand said. “And that’s when they need the support of all of us more than ever. ”