OMAHA, Neb. — When drycleaning and laundry business Max I. Walker saw a Facebook request from Sarah Jane Geilenkirchen, a nursing assistant at Methodist Women’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), for baby sleepers, the company drew upon its partnership with Goodwill Omaha last spring when it donated scrubs to the Creighton medical scrub drive.
The Methodist Women’s Hospital NICU is a 51-bed unit staffed by a highly specialized neonatal team. The NICU is designated a Level III unit — the highest level of care in west Omaha. Since opening in 2010, the NICU has cared for more than 6,600 babies.
“The response was pretty amazing,” Geilenkirchen says. “Then, to see Max I. Walker and Goodwill step up as well … it’s just incredible.”
"We teamed up with Goodwill in April to donate scrubs to the Creighton medical scrub drive, and it was a really positive experience,” says Casey Walker, director of retail operations at Max I. Walker, “so, it was natural to think of them for the NICU sleepers. Our marketing teams got together and were able to put a plan into action very quickly.”
Max I. Walker and Goodwill managed the donation project the same way they did the scrub drive donation: Goodwill’s retail operations team gathered all the sleepers in preemie and newborn sizes from its stores, Max I. Walker laundered and bundled the sleepers, and members of the two organizations delivered the freshly cleaned sleepers to Methodist Women’s Hospital. In total, they donated and cleaned more than 60 sleepers.
Geilenkirchen says the sleepers will keep babies in the NICU comfortable, but they’ll also bring comfort to the families, who typically spend as much time as they can at the hospital with their babies.
"For families in the NICU, it can be such a lonesome time,” Geilenkirchen says. “Something as simple as a sleeper provides them with some normalcy. Having a sleeper allows the families to participate in the care of their baby. It’s such a simple thing, but it means so much to them.”