During the stay-at-home order, local jewelry maker Christy Alvarado and her friends decided to start making beaded bracelets to give to the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital – she called the line Bracelet Joy.
“The jewelry line is something that we can leave for [frontline workers] to let them know ‘you matter,’” she said. “We appreciate everything they are doing and sacrificing.”
Alvarado said her bracelets are all handmade and showcase fun, inspirational words to spread love to those on the front line.
“My friend Jenny worked at St. Joe’s, so she would be my inside angel to distribute to the healthcare heroes,” Alvarado said.
Soon after the initial effort, she reached out to some other friends who were also giving back at St. Joe’s by baking home goods for the hospital nurses. Quickly, they formed Operation: Everyone.
They reached out to people on social media and soon found a flurry of support from local businesses like Santa Barbara Design Studio, Cold Stone Creamery and Paula Jacqueline Cakes. They also received donations of gift cards, pastries, treat bags, monetary gifts and more.
“It was an example for our children,” Alvarado said. “Even though we are in a pandemic, there are ways we can give back.”
To expand Operation: Everyone, she needed to enlist other community groups to make bracelets.
“Jewelry was a given since we had been making it already, but we just needed a team of bracelet makers to help out,” Alvarado said. “We got a group of seniors from Arcadia High School to help put them together for Camelback Pediatrics.”
As she moved forward with the bracelet making, Alvarado incorporated a handmade stethoscope charm with a frontline worker that reads “2020” and a nurse symbol with a healthcare worker, both with the same inscription. The charms are being used in necklaces as well.
In addition to the custom jewelry, she wanted to include sweet treats as a part of her mission to give back.
While celebrating National Ice Cream Day, she enlisted the help of Leo’s Ice Cream Truck to provide ice cream to the workers at Camelback Pediatrics. Before that, Operation: Everyone was gifted a large donation from Cold Stone Creamery Tempe for healthcare workers at Valleywise Health.
“Because of generous donations and partnering, we have been able to provide some treats or food to the workers,” Alvarado said.
As the program continues, the jewelry maker will continue working with Leo’s Ice Cream Truck and has also reached out to Fresche, Dulce de Churros, Kona Ice and UnBaked for additional partnerships.
Operation: Everyone has served Banner Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Abrazo Heart Hospital Central Campus, Valleywise, HonorHealth Piper Surgery Center, SMIL offices and Camelback Pediatrics.
Moving forward, Operation: Everyone is working on a “Healthcare Hero Token” that supporters can buy and pass out to their healthcare heroes.