Local small businesses pitch in to pep up COVID-19 frontline workers

While the novel coronavirus circles Denver, local small businesses have joined forces to thank and cheer up those on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

Jaala Sheldon, founder of the Denver-based party planning business jaala’s Party Pantry began delivering “Party For One Pep-Up Packs” to local healthcare workers on March 25. The packs contain medical supplies such as masks and treats such as candy, cookies, flowers, soap, whiskey and other items,  depending on what has been donated that week by other small local businesses.

In the past three weeks, Sheldon has delivered more than 75 packs, with the help of one employee and a handful of businesses who donate products and volunteer time. The response from businesses offering to help and customers interested in nominating a healthcare worker to receive a basket has been overwhelming, Sheldon said.

“As a party planner being out of work, it’s a really good distraction, and it’s been very fulfilling,” Sheldon said. “It’s really all about seeing these smiling faces.”

This cutie is headed all the way to New Jersey. One of my wonderful caterers @2tastecatering is sending this off to his sister who has been hit hard on the front line. How sweet is that? Also, check out his meal pop deliveries. Amazing food! Thank you @cestsibonfortheroost and @presspauseproject for the perfect finishing touches to this kit. Get your nominations in. Big delivery day tomorrow!

A post shared by jaala's PARTY PANTRY (@partypantry) on

Sheldon builds the packs from donations — flowers from Perfect Petal, CBD-infused bath bombs from the Press Pause Project or sugar cookies from Cake Crumbs. Deliveries are made every Thursday. Sheldon leaves the baskets in a cart outside her business, where the delivery person picks them up and drops them off on the recipients’ front porch as a surprise. No one comes into contact with anyone else.

Centennial resident Sarah Renz nominated her friend, a nurse whose mother was in the hospital due to COVID-19, to receive a basket. Renz was sitting with her friend on her front porch Thursday when the basket arrived, and 10 minutes later, her friend got the call that her mother had passed away.

“She was just grateful,” Renz said. “It was neat to see bath bombs, Sprite, cherries to make Shirley Temples… It made her smile.”

Dawn Fable, founder of the Press Pause Project, donated CBD bath bombs as a relaxation tool and stress reliever for crucial workers. She intends to continue donating products such as CBD tea bags that help with sleep and headaches, she said, because it helps her business as well as those in need.

“Our hope is that other organizations can donate product or their time,” Fable said.

Scott Miner, an emergency doctor at Lutheran Medical Center and Sheldon’s friend, took baskets to his colleagues.

“It’s really nice for us to know we’re appreciated and cared for,” he said. “To receive one is really touching.”

Those who are interested in nominating an essential worker to receive a basket or donating funds can do so on the Party For One website.

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