If there's one thing people need in the midst of a crisis - it's food. And during this pandemic, feeding our staff with meals and special treats has been an uplifting endeavor for many community groups and colleagues. The outpouring of love and support that our community shows us each and every week has been the fuel we need to continue fighting COVID-19.

HCA Houston Healthcare colleagues are known for caring for patients and each other like family. Throughout this pandemic, many of our colleagues have stepped up to show their support for our Healthcare Heroes on the front line.

Adopting a servant's heart

Laura Butler with her family

Laura Butler, MSN, RN, HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division clinical education specialist is one of these individuals. After spending several years at a teaching institution, Laura recently returned to HCA Houston Healthcare to support the StaRN nursing residents at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake. Previously, she worked for ten years in Labor and Delivery at The Woman's Hospital of Texas.

Butler has a genuine servant's heart. Already blessed with three children, she felt a spiritual calling to live out the Biblical scripture of James 1:27--to help those in need, especially orphans and widows. She is now the mother of four after adopting her youngest daughter, Anna from Haiti. As her family went through the rigorous adoption process, Butler realized many couples and families wanted to adopt, but were limited due to financial restrictions. She knew she could find a way to help other families wishing to adopt, so she started a non-profit The Anna Cheri Foundation in 2017. To date, she has exceeded her initial goal of sponsoring one family per year and has extended 19 adoption grants in just two years.

Feeding the frontline

Nurses Zara Hashmi and Abby Pierpoune accepting a donated
  meal coordinated by Laura Butler

Unable to host their annual April fundraiser due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Butler shifted gears to “adopt” nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers on the frontline.

“I put out the word to my friends and community members to ‘adopt a healthcare worker,’ thinking that I could at least feed the StaRN residents. I partnered with a local restaurant Savannah Café & Bakery and told them about my plan to “feed the soldiers,” said Butler.

The immediate response was overwhelming. Butler received enough donations to purchase 60 meals within the first hour and was able to feed her residents and other colleagues. "When I delivered the first box, the staff were so sweet and thankful for the food. Many of them had not eaten all day," she recalls.

"Laura is such a philanthropic person and I knew it from the first day I met her," said Lisa Greer, BSN, RN, HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division director of clinical education. "During her interview, we talked about professional development and the importance of giving back to the community beyond our daily work requirements. I learned about her non-profit and it was evident she truly embraced nursing and could be a good role model for others. I thank her for showing so much love to the new staff and for extending her compassion to the frontline soldiers," Greer added.

Since starting this initiative, staff at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast and The Woman's Hospital of Texas have been fed. "Feeding the 'soldiers' helps me stay positive and busy during this unique time. Our organization chose to support HCA Houston Healthcare to show our appreciation for the hard work our friends are doing to care for our community," said Butler.