Moab resident Annie Payne delivers a second round of snack donations for Moab Regional Hospital medical workers as part of “Operation Cookie.” [Photo: Moab Regional Hospital]

Back in November, Moab resident Annie Payne posted to the Facebook group Moab Stone Soup, a page set up to facilitate resource sharing in the area. Payne noted the increasing strain on medical staff at Moab Regional Hospital.

“I just recently heard that our health care workers at MRH are really starting to feel the crush of COVID,” Payne wrote. “They are working long hours and sometimes foregoing breaks.”

Payne noted that larger hospitals in the area, where MRH typically transfers patients that need a higher level of care, were filling up and sometimes denying transfers.

Payne wrote that she had asked some healthcare workers for suggestions as to how the community could show them appreciation and support. She heard that snacks in the breakroom would be appreciated.

In her post, Payne said she was putting together an order from Costco that she would deliver to the hospital in a few weeks, and invited anyone who felt inspired to pitch in to do so. She said most of the foods would be healthier choices like trail mix, smoothies and protein bars – but also cookies, because “cookies make everything better.”

And, in recognition of the healing power of cookies, she dubbed the project Operation Cookie.

“This is a super easy way to send the workers at the hospital a message of love and gratitude,” she wrote.

The group responded enthusiastically with offers of cash donations and some businesses offering to donate goodies like coffee and cookies.

“Thank you for putting this together!” wrote a commenter on the post. “What a great idea! We love our nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers!”

Before long, Payne declared Operation Cookie “an overwhelming success.”

“We have earned enough money to keep the hospital stocked with snacks for quite some time,” she said, adding that she would be in contact with hospital CEO Jen Sadoff to coordinate on snack resupply once the first batch ran low.

A second snack drop took place in mid-December.

The hospital posted a picture of the donation being received to Facebook, writing, “We feel so loved, appreciated and supported! Thank you!”

Christy Calvin, who does communications for the hospital, spoke on behalf of the more than 270 hospital staff members to thank Payne and the rest of the Moab community for “such a meaningful gesture at the end of a tough year.”

“It’s amazing how much a box full of snacks brightens the day of so many staff members in every department at Moab Regional Hospital,” she said. “Sometimes a little something sweet or a little something salty is all you need to make it through another shift.”

Payne told the Moab Sun News she was planning another snack drop, likely for February, and will keep the paper posted as the plan for the next round takes shape.

Local started effort as a way to support healthcare workers

“Cookies make everything better.”

– Annie Payne