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Lillian Boyd, The Capistrano Dispatch

Members of the Dana Point and Capistrano Beach communities are encouraging people to drop off bulk snacks and notes of encouragement to health care workers at Mission Hospital as part of the “Hugs for Heroes” initiative at the Dana Point Community Center.

“The concept arose out of several conversations both personally and through Capo Cares Facebook, where people expressed a desire to ‘do something’ to help—to somehow send a little encouragement and support to the men and women who have been working so hard on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Toni Nelson, cofounder of Capo Cares.

A bin is now situated at the community center to collect bulk snacks, drinks and notes of encouragement.

“Each box will be stamped with a ‘Hugs for Heroes’ sticker, so the workers know Dana Point is sending them a hug,” Nelson said. “The notes of encouragement unfortunately can’t go into the COVID wards, but they will be posted on bulletin boards throughout the hospital, and selected notes will be published in their internal newsletter.”

Nelson has partnered with City of Dana Point, Mission Cares (a nonprofit that supports Mission Hospital Foundation) and Larry Robinson, owner of the Fish Tank, a Capo Beach arts venue. The city will be facilitating collection, while Robinson and Nelson will coordinate deliveries.

Mission Hospital is accepting any bulk snacks or drinks as long as they are individually wrapped and do not require refrigeration. Bulk fruits can be donated in boxes or bags. Homemade snacks cannot be accepted due to hospital protocol. Suggested donations include individually packaged nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, fruit cups, apple sauce, beef or turkey jerky, trail mix, juices, Gatorade, chips, popcorn, muffins and cookies.

Although handwritten notes cannot be allowed in COVID care areas, Mission Cares staff will post them on general bulletin boards throughout the hospital and scan some of them into the hospital newsletter.

“As we all know, these selfless frontline workers have been working to the point of exhaustion and beyond,” Nelson said. “Please write a short note or card to let them know we appreciate and honor them as ‘heroes’ of this pandemic.”

Volunteers will deliver snacks and notes to Mission Hospitals in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach once or twice weekly.

All donations are tax-deductible through Mission Hospital Foundation Federal Tax I.D. # 95-1643360.  For major donations of $250 or more, please fill out a tax receipt request that can be found here and mail your request to Mission Hospital Foundation at the address noted on the form.

The Dana Point Community Center is located at 34052 Del Obispo Street and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, email hugsforheroesdp@gmail.com.

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