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Tacoma Police Department, Community Partners Make Special Donation To St. Joseph Medical Center NICU families

Delivering a baby and not being able to take them home during those first few days is a feeling no parent wants to experience. But for families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it’s a reality–and it can be a stressful and worrisome time.

In efforts to help area families with children in the NICU feel cared for and connected, the Tacoma Police Department and other community partners made a special visit to St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC). 

“We’re trying to serve the whole family unit, showing them that we love them and that we’re not here just one time and gone,” said Tacoma PD senior community engagement manager Bervin Smith. “We have visited the NICU three times in the last year because we want to provide constant support. When we offered other members of the community a chance to get involved, they showed up big, donating many items to support these families.” 

Tons of donated items–from food to hygiene products, giftcards, and blankets–filled the lobby of SJMC, ready to be handed out to families in the NICU letting them know that the community cares for them in a difficult time. 

“It’s just a huge comfort knowing that families have community support behind them,” noted Doug Baxter-Jenkins, region program director for Community Health at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH). “The gifts are caring and practical when you think about having a blanket to sleep with and a few comfort and hygiene items for families who are attempting to take care of themselves while also trying to care for a newborn in need.” 

Maci Senat knows all too well the feeling of having precious newborn babies in the NICU. Senat gave birth to triplets at 27 weeks and four days. Senat was transferred from Madigan Army Medical Center to SJMC as their level III NICU was equipped to support this young gestational aged newborns .

She remembers how overwhelmed she was at the time. Her husband was stationed in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and family far away in Missouri. Due to the war in Ukraine, her husband was only able to return for a short visit. She found the feeling of family in the SJMC staff.

The care she received in the NICU gave Senat hope, and the tools to help when she was overwhelmed with her newborn triplets is something she still uses to this day. 

Senat used the words kind, conscientious, and inclusive when describing how the staff supported her family.  

Senat wanted to find a way she could give back to the NICU. When a position as a family advocate opened up at VMFH, she immediately jumped at the opportunity. She now helps families going through similar situations. 

Senat says donations from the Tacoma Police Department and community partners provide much needed support to families in the NICU. 

“These donations hit all the major needs of our families, and it’s so crucial that we continue to care for our parents and siblings because the experience is affecting the whole family,” Senat added. 

The SJMC Level III NICU has 34 beds and supports all babies from 22 weeks gestation to term.