End the Year with Cheer: A special delivery for frontline health workers

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 7:48 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - 2020 has been a tough year, but especially for our health heroes. Doctors and nurses are working tirelessly, risking their own health to fight for ours on the frontlines of an unprecedented pandemic. I wanted to do something to remind them that they’re appreciated.

I enlisted the remote help of my mother, Cherie Rivera, who lives in Texas. Using a recipe she’s been making since before I was born, we made pulla — a Finnish sweet bread.

The smell of the cardamom-spiced yeast bread baking in the oven is a holiday staple in our family, and my early memories of this time of year include watching my mom braid the dough into beautiful golden wreaths. She would then send my sisters and me with our dad to deliver some to the local fire and police stations in the town we grew up in, a gesture of gratitude to those serving our community during the holidays.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaskans showed their support for doctors and nurses inside Providence Alaska Medical Center by standing outside, waiving and holding up signs with words of encouragement and thanks.

Now, several months into the pandemic, the job of frontline medical workers hasn’t gotten any easier. My mother and I hope that our small gift to the doctors and nurses at Providence who are treating COVID-19 patients serves as a reminder that we are grateful for their sacrifices and contributions to the community.

“I hope when they taste the bread, they feel love,” she said.

Providence Hospital accepted our donation of pulla wreaths. A staff member met me outside the hospital so I could safely hand them off.

If you’d like to do something nice for frontline workers, it doesn’t have to require spending hours in the kitchen. Amy Lester with the Providence Alaska Foundation said the hospital welcomes support from the community.

“If community members want to support our front-line caregivers the best way to do that is on our Foundation website and the fund is COVID-19,” Lester wrote in an email.

Donations can be made easily online.

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