In Chapel Hill and beyond, the coronavirus pandemic has endangered small businesses and threatened to overwhelm local hospitals. Liddy Stewart and Phoebe Murray, two sisters and UNC graduates, are working to help both.
The community fundraiser, called Feed the Fight Chapel Hill, works to deliver fresh food from local restaurants to UNC Health Care workers fighting COVID-19. The sisters collect donations through a GoFundMe page and use it to purchase the meals.
“The idea of it is it being a win-win for restaurants and health care workers, because we’re supporting the restaurants financially and we’re showing the health care workers our appreciation,” Liddy said.
So far, Feed the Fight Chapel Hill has partnered with restaurants including Brandwein's Bagels, The Purple Bowl, Merritt's, Carolina Brewery, Al’s Burger Shack, Vecino Brewing Co. and Sutton's Drug Store.
“The restaurants have been so pumped to get on board," Stewart said. "Obviously, they’re really struggling right now, so every single restaurant we’ve reached out to has been thrilled about this opportunity to get paid — and the fact that they’re sending their food to health care workers makes it all the better.”
On Monday, Carolina Brewery delivered lunch to UNC Hospitals.
“Right now, income is uncertain. If there’s guaranteed income with a great audience and cause, it’s a win-win,” owner and founder Robert Poitras said.
Poitras said he hopes the familiarity of Carolina Brewery's food will be exciting for the health care workers.
“We know a lot of the front line people who’ve been customers of ours and friends of ours and connected to us in some way,” Poitras said.
Amir Barzin, lead physician at the Respiratory Diagnostic Center, emphasized how uplifting Feed the Fight has been for him and his coworkers.
“It’s just such a lift. Our team is a great team, and everyone is just so excited to be out there helping and working.” Barzin said. “It’s just really always a super kind gesture and really uplifting whenever they see their community wrap around them. Something as simple as food in the morning for them just makes a really big difference.”
The sisters' long time connection to the Chapel Hill community helped motivate them to launch the fundraiser, they said. They are both UNC graduates and have lived in Chapel Hill for several years after graduation.
"We frequent the Chapel Hill restaurants," Murray said. "We use UNC’s Health Care resources, so we felt it was really important to do our part and try to uplift these local businesses that we love and these healthcare heroes who are fighting to keep our community safe during this really unprecedented time.”
People in Chapel Hill can help Feed the Fight by offering to deliver food or creating thank you cards. Anyone can donate through the fundraiser's GoFundMe page or help by sharing Feed the Fight Chapel Hill's page with friends and family.
“We want to keep this going as long as we can and as long as it’s needed," Murray said. "In order to do that, we really need to spread the message about Feed the Fight far and wide within Chapel Hill and beyond it."
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