Regence celebrates National Volunteer Week: Supporting our friends and neighbors in the COVID-19 fight

By Regence
April 21, 2020

Above: A member of Regence's clinical services leadership team volunteers with Meals on Wheels every Wednesday.

As COVID-19 continues to impact the wellbeing of our communities, Regence Health Plans are committed to care for people and families affected by COVID-19 and the health care workforce on the front lines of this public health crisis. Deeply rooted in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, we continue to work to strengthen and support the communities we serve.

Last month, we announced a series of philanthropic donations that will be used to meet the immediate needs of our nonprofit partners, across Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Washington. Our fearless employee volunteers are also finding ways to give back in our communities, while staying safe and socially distancing.

In honor of National Volunteer Week — April 19 through 25 this year — we recognize the efforts of some of these volunteers, and all those committed to giving back to their communities in this incredible time of need.

Making sure all Idahoans have access to healthy food

Annie (pictured at top), alongside our clinical services leadership team, volunteers with Meals on Wheels in Lewiston every Wednesday. Many of these employees are registered nurses, able to check in on vulnerable and at-risk seniors while delivering meals.

Ensuring all Utahans have access to personal protective equipment (PPE)   

Hearing that a lack of culturally appropriate information about COVID-19 is one reason that the virus is disproportionately affecting the Hispanic and Latino communities in Utah, Sebastian developed Spanish-language instructional videos for mask-making and grocery shopping safety.


In response to reports of dire PPE shortages, Lori and members of her Regence family came together to sew over 3,000 masks for local nurses, firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and doctors on the front lines of the health crisis in Utah.


Feeding Washington’s health care workers

Health care workers were left with few options for quick, nutritious meals during their long shifts when Seattle went on lockdown. Partnering with UW Medical CentersSeattle Children’s Hospital and Harborview Medical Center, local restaurant The London Plane stepped up to feed frontline workers. Regebce employee Wen lent her PR experience to help bring awareness to this 1,600-meals-a-day donation program orchestrated by her chef husband, raising over $80,000 for a GoFundMe campaign to continue the program.

A look at London Plane's dining room, where meals are being boxed up and prepared to deliver to health care workers in Seattle.

As a volunteer for soup kitchens and food banks in Washington, Karla recognizes that food is precious and should not be wasted, if possible.  While isolated at home, she develops and promotes ways for fresh produce and breads to be dehydrated, frozen or put into recipes for soups and smoothies as solutions for limiting the waste of such a crucial resource.

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Using 3D printing to improve Washington’s health care workers PPE

In response to Washington Governor Jay Inslee's call for homemade masks to support health care workers on the front lines, Regence employee Erica Manary’s son took action with his engineering skills and 3D printing experience. Family friends who are nurses shared that their personal protective gear was causing irritation and pressure sores on the back of their ears due to the constant pressure of face protection. Erica's son, pictured below, sprang into motion, printing as many ear protectors as his home printer could handle. He was able to fulfill clinicians' orders via social media until his machine failed after two weeks of nonstop production. Erica then contacted the 3D printing community, which stepped up to fulfill orders by adding his design to a local database of orderable protection. Once his machine’s repair parts arrive in the mail, Erica’s son said he plans to rejoin the PPE effort.

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Check out what else Regence Health Plans are doing to support our communities during this time.