Got Questions About Operation Sailors Code? We've Got Answers

  • What’s the big deal about hand cream given the bigger problems we’re facing?

Do your hands hurt right now? Do they feel dry? Have they started cracking yet from all the handwashing, scrubbing, and hand sanitizer? Now imagine you’re a nurse in the middle of this pandemic. You’re working 20 hour days, sleeping anywhere in the hospital where you won’t be stepped on, washing your hands 4-5 times more than the average person. You probably haven’t eaten much or taken the time to go to the bathroom because your patients are critical and their lives are depending on your presence more than your bladder matters.

Would you want your hands to hurt more and be a distraction from the patient in front of you? How would you feel if you received a gift from a stranger with a note saying, “Thank you. We see you. We appreciate your hard work. We are grateful.” Are you crying yet?

Sending hand cream is an act of appreciation. It’s a gift of gratitude and love. It says, “We recognize you and you are a human being to us”. It also provides very crucial physical relief from the toll that tough working conditions exact on your skin. It’s kindness in a tin.

Our country, our world, our city needs hope. This is collective action that both helps to bolster our small business economy while showing our gratitude for our vitally important health care workers. At Em & El, we believe in saying thank you, especially to those who often don’t get the recognition they deserve. Gratitude has energetic power for ourselves and for others. It makes the world a better place when we recognize our own resources and the power to share them. We believe business can and should serve a greater good, that we can change how we choose to rebuild our world. This is a great actionable first step.

  • What hospitals are you working with? How do I know that the care package I order will land in the right hands (pun intended)?

At this time, we are working with the following hospitals:

We are currently in discussions to add more hospitals to this list and will make them available as they come onboard.

Rolling this project out well in a way that helps and doesn’t hinder is extremely important to us. We have been coordinating closely with hospitals to ensure that we meet all their criteria and protocols for packages to be delivered safely, calling upon medical professionals in our circles for their help and advice as well.

  • How can I show I care? This feels frivolous.

It’s not frivolous at all. Think about a time you received a random gift. Or maybe you were the one giving it. Maybe you were having a bad day and someone wanted to brighten it just a bit. Or maybe you saw someone struggling through a difficult journey and wanted them to know they weren’t alone. Did giving or receiving those gifts make you smile? Did they lift your spirits or help you get through a difficult time?

We talk a lot about self-care and the importance of it, and we also all understand how hard it can be to take the time for ourselves. Sending care packages is a simple but powerful message of love. It is the gift of care.

We also believe that small businesses have a real chance to step up and lead our country in this time of crisis. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the world we wish to see -- how and where will you vote? In small businesses and the people who believe in their communities or in big business that only cares about profit and the happiness of their shareholders?

  • I’m financially struggling right now, but really want to help. Is there any way I can still be involved?

We have set up a GoFundMe page if you'd like to contribute to the project, but a whole care package is financially a reach. You can find it here.

We need everyone’s help in this fight! Spread the word to your friends and family who might have more resources and/or financial stability about what we’re doing. Let them know that they can make a difference, too!

Follow us on our social media channels, especially Instagram and Facebook. Like, comment on, and share our posts. While that feels almost too easy, it really does make a huge impact for a small business like ours.

Know a local reporter? Send them our contact information. Think your company would be interested in participating? We'd love to talk with whomever handles those projects.

Talk to other small businesses in your community and ask them to think about how they can replicate this idea to help them survive this crisis. For example, if there’s a restaurant that’s struggling (and who isn’t?!), perhaps they could create meal care packages and deliver them to the hospitals. If you do reach out to your local businesses, please also stress to them that it is critically important that they directly coordinate with the hospitals to ensure that safety protocols are being met. If anyone has questions about how to do this, please let us know. We’re happy to share the information we’ve gleaned in setting this all up.

  • How else can I help?

Small businesses in this country are getting clobbered by this crisis and our government’s lack of action. We see our fellow business owners having to make heartbreaking decisions to close their doors and lay off their employees. The people who start businesses are fighters. They are courageous and scrappy, and they will sacrifice everything to keep their doors open and employees working, even at their own expense. Small businesses are also the backbones of our communities all across this country. They are the first to lend a hand in crisis, and the first to hire their neighbors. They make our country a better place to live.

We need you in the fight to stand up and let our government--federal, state, and local--know that small businesses matter, not just to our local communities but also to our country as a whole. We have banded together with our fellow small business owners to urge our government to put us first over big businesses that always put profits first, not people. Find your representatives and their contact information here.

  • Did you come up with this all on your own?

Hells to the NO! Starting, building, and running a small business takes a gigantic village of cheerleaders, helpers, mentors, and bartenders. We are eternally grateful for the love and support from our Em & El community. This project wouldn’t have been possible without a few key people, though:

  • Mom, aka Kathy Young, aka Badass Nurse in Charge at Em & El. Excellent at hard talk, pep talk, and cyber hugs.
  • Cindy Cornell: friend, sailor, and executive coach who graciously reached out to help us put serving other first and reminded us of our value in a time of crisis
  • Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, aka our meditation guru, who has been our champion from the beginning
  • Our hospital coordinators, without whom we would never be able to make this project possible (We are withholding their names our of respect for their privacy.)