It all started with a simple desire to stay cool, but what began as a summer vacation craft project for one Parkridge Medical Center Emergency Room nurse has quickly developed into a community outreach effort coordinated by the entire Parkridge ER.
While enjoying some time off on a hot summer day a couple of weeks ago, Parkridge ER nurse Malena Condon decided to get crafty and make cooling neck bandannas for herself and her family. After watching a tutorial on YouTube, Ms. Condon went to work creating neck wraps with a moisture-holding substance sewn into them to retain water and keep the wearer cool. She finished a batch of the wraps for family and friends, then began thinking of others.
“It’s just so hot outside, and I started thinking about all the homeless people in our area who don’t always have the opportunity to seek air-conditioned shelter,” said Ms. Condon. She ramped up her production and soon had 60 bandannas to take to the Community Kitchen.
When she arrived at the facility and began handing out her creations, the response was immediate. “Before I knew it, I’d handed out all 60, and I realized that this is something that these people could really use.” Condon went back to her supervisor at Parkridge, ER Director Robin Marsh, and explained the need. Soon, the entire Emergency Department was ready and willing to help Ms. Condon produce neck wraps. Physicians and staff have joined the initiative and the group plans to continue production of the cooling apparel throughout the summer. The wraps will be distributed to agencies that work with Chattanooga’s homeless.
“With these 100+ degree days, it’s very easy for people to get overheated, and that can be dangerous,” said Ms. Marsh. “Malena had a great idea, and we are happy to support it. We hope that our bandannas will provide many homeless individuals with some relief this summer.”
Unit Secretary Susan Ruth and Dr. Kenneth Hayman work on a couple of neck wraps.