coronavirus pandemic

San Diego Hospitals Accepting Donations for COVID-19 Patients

A small act of kindness can help more than we realize

NBC Universal, Inc.

A difficult part of treating COVID-19 is dealing with isolation, especially in a hospital. Some San Diego County hospitals are accepting donations to help distract their patients who are by themselves sometimes for weeks on end battling the disease.

All hospitals have restricted visitors due to the pandemic, which is why UC San Diego Health is collecting donations of new books, magazines, decks of cards, sudoku books, and crossword puzzles. Even arts and crafts donations are being accepted.

“We really want to offer them an opportunity to feel better and channel some energy and really just release anxiety knowing that their loved one won’t be able to come and visit,” said Layah Blacksberg, director of Volunteer and Spiritual Care Services at UC San Diego Health.

Isabel Ortuno, who was hospitalized for nine days battling COVID-19, says she saw the need for folks to donate magazines, crossword puzzles, or books for hospitalized patients.

“[It affects you] emotionally because we're so used to having loved ones and family members visit you in the hospital and that's a huge part of the healing process is having a loved one there,” Ortuno said.

After being discharged, Ortuno gave back and donated crossword puzzles and magazines.

“I have spent time in the hospital with my own family and I know how it feels. It's really lonely, it's very isolating and we know the importance of your mental health and making sure that your physical health is also being taken care of,” Blacksberg said.

A small act of kindness can help more than we realize.

UC San Diego Health is accepting donations of brand new items.

To coordinate a donation, contact UC San Diego Health’s Volunteer Services at or call 619-543-6370 to coordinate a drop-off.

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