Around the winter holidays, front-line staff at the Reutlinger Community in Danville see a bonus in their paychecks — a gift from residents of the senior facility, and their family members, to thank those who keep the place running.
This year, cooks, nurses, caregivers, housekeepers, administrative assistants and other Reutlinger employees will receive an added summer bonus — a symbol of gratitude for working through such difficult times.
Even before the spread of Covid-19 began to take off, Reutlinger was under lockdown because of an unrelated flu outbreak, according to CEO Jay Zimmer, beginning in late February. Today, the lockdown continues at the historically Jewish senior living center, just as it does at other senior facilities in California and around the country.
And for a virus that has left a wake of devastation for not only senior-home residents but also staff, Reutlinger, as of June 11, had not seen a positive case of Covid-19 on its campus, according to the facility’s latest official update.
“We want our front-line employees to know our families and our residents appreciate them,” said Beth Kyman, Reutlinger’s director of philanthropy. “The staff are miraculous. They are just so dedicated.”
The fundraising for the Covid bonus — under the auspices of the Judy Fancher Employee Fund — has so far raised more than $26,000 for the 150 to 160 workers, according to Kyman. The goal, she said, is to reach $30,000.
Kyman said the money raised will be distributed in the “next few weeks.”
Kyman also has enlisted help from the Reutlinger Family Council, a group of residents’ relatives who advocate for their loved ones.
Andrea DuBrow, a co-chair of the council, jumped into action by messaging her network about the fundraising effort. She also pointed to other ways people are showing appreciation for the staff, like two anonymous donations to pay for employee lunches, amounting to about $600 each time.
“People are trying to be supportive and thank the staff,” DuBrow said. “To say thank you, and help support them for all the extra hard work they’ve been doing during shelter in place.”