tea cart, tea trolley, hunterdon healthcare, pete baker, gail gastelu, lynne danik, tea, volunteer
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Tea Trolley Volunteers - A Labor of Love by Gail Gastelu, The Tea House Times

Monday, September 5th 2016 @ 7:30 AM

If you work in the tea industry, it is very likely that your work is a labor of love. It is for me. - -  I’ve been holding this story for just the right time and since today is Labor Day, it seems fitting to share how tea is a labor of love not only for those of us in the industry but for anyone who shares tea with others. It’s the kind of love and caring through human connection that makes tea and everyone who partakes, special.

Many of you who visit with me at trade shows have met my dad, Pete. He’s my dad, so of course I will need to gush a bit. Mom (Sue) and dad are both fully retired now but do “volunteer” work elsewhere and also “volunteer” to help me. If that’s not a labor of love, I don’t know what is. Anyway, today I want to tell you about what dad does. He volunteers at Hunterdon Healthcare. If you’ve ever been in the hospital, you know that many, many people will interact with you throughout the day. It’s those special people with the loveliest hearts full of care for what they do who help the patient in every way including the smallest things that might bring a bit of comfort or “healing”. Dad transports patients, brings them where they need to go….for tests, etc….and back to their rooms. All with that glowing smile. (Love you, dad!)

Other volunteers bring tea!
Yes, T E A! When he told me they have a tea cart there, I was so impressed. Pictured here is Sophia (notice her pin!). Thank you, Sophia and all tea cart volunteers, what you are doing is wonderful!

I’ve given tea to them when I have too much sent to me (for product reviews). And, I sent a bunch, thanks to Bigelow Tea. But, of course, they receive regular donations from the local Shop Rite.

Recently, dad (proud papa), asked if I had any extra #DrinkTea Campaign pins and if he could bring them for all of the tea cart volunteers to wear. If I recall correctly, I think he told me there are around 20 people who handle the tea cart. All volunteers.

Yes, I provided a bagful of #DrinkTea pins, and they are all wearing the pins now! I can barely contain my own excitement as this campaign is my baby and to see others embrace it and allow it in their facility is wonderful, wonderful!

Since dad does not run the tea cart, he put me in touch with Lynne Danik, Director of Volunteer Resources at Hunterdon Healthcare who filled me in on volunteer procedures concerning the tea cart. Here’s what I learned:

Lynne told me that the advantage of having a “Healing Tea Trolley” in the hospital setting began seven years ago in an attempt to utilize teen volunteers in patient units.  She hoped it would engage the nursing and pre-med high school students and familiarize them with the nursing units, give the students some patient care experience while offering some healing teas in the afternoon each day. The Tea Trolley was born!! Tea is offered seven days a week on all patient units between 2 and 5 pm.  They offer black and green teas and herbal infusions.

Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if this happened everywhere?  Lynne shared some other points and guidelines for their tea program along with a Volunteer Service Description.  I’ve pasted the information below for anyone interested in how it all works. Love it! Simply wonderful. What a true, true, Labor of Love.

Have a wonderful Labor Day my friends.



For the Love of Tea. . .



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GAIL GASTELU is Publisher of The Tea House Times, Producer of TeaCourse.com continuing education and TeaEtiquetteCertified.com online tea etiquette certification. She is also producer and presenter of Tea Course Fast Track and produces numerous other products and services to connect businesses and consumers to everything tea. Gail lives in NJ with her husband and two children. Her motto is "Just Do It!"  Learn more about Gail's work here. Contact Gail via email here.

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