Health care workers are on the frontline of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to show community support and gratitude for these health care heroes, two fundraisers are raising money to purchase meals from local restaurants to give to healthcare workers in the area.
Feed the Fight Chapel Hill was launched on March 31 by two UNC graduates, Liddy Stewart and her sister, Phoebe Murray, and their GoFundMe page has raised over $15,000 so far.
Steward said Feed the Fight has already delivered 530 meals to workers at UNC Hospital. She said on their first delivery day, which was April 3, volunteers provided meals from Brandwein’s Bagels and The Purple Bowl to workers from UNC's Emergency and Respiratory Diagnostics departments.
“(UNC health care workers) are grateful to know that the Chapel Hill community cares about them and is appreciative of everything that they are doing,” Stewart said. “Ultimately, they’re risking their own health to keep all of us safe.”
Stewart said the hospital provides them with a list of workers working each shift, so they know how many meals to provide, which can range from 45 meals to 145 meals.
“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible,” Stewart said. “We want to rotate through to make sure everyone in the hospital knows that they are appreciated, and not just stick to one unit in particular.”
Other local organizations are also stepping up.
The North Carolina Healthcare Foundation created the COVID-19 Healthcare Hero Response Fund to provide meals to health care workers across the state. The fund is partnering with five locally-owned restaurants and focusing on providing meals to workers in the Triangle, said Jai Kumar, North Carolina Healthcare Association strategy and program development officer.
“We can really help support and sustain a small group of restaurant partners through a really tough time and provide a lot of meals to healthcare workers across the state,” said Kumar.
According to its website, the NCHF has received more than $50,000 in community donations so far, which equates to over 4,500 meals to be purchased.
Kumar said the first 800 meals were delivered to UNC Hospital, and the next 400 were delivered to UNC Rex Hospital on Wednesday. He said they plan to deliver 400 meals to UNC Hospital on Friday.
“We are incredibly grateful to the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation, Ashley Christensen Restaurants and the other restaurants involved,” said Jim McGrody, director of food and nutrition services for UNC Medical Center. “It’s a very generous and powerful gesture, and it’s great food.”
Kumar said as the NCHF grows across the state, it will add more restaurant partners and deliver to more health care workers outside of the Triangle. He said the association hopes to deliver another 4,000 meals across the state by the end of April.
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