Meals for Medical fuels frontline workers
Not all heroes wear capes (lately, they wear scrubs). But all heroes need a good, hot meal.
For the past several months, locally based Meals for Medical has made sure frontline medical workers have the food they need to keep fighting the coronavirus in our community.
The group’s origin story began when Jennifer Green, a physician’s assistant turned full-time mom, saw a Facebook post of exhausted emergency room workers in New York grateful to receive a meal after caring for patients.
“I thought, ‘You know what, that’s a really good idea. I’ll reach out to some folks in the emergency rooms in Savannah and see if anyone would appreciate that,’” she recalls.
Green posted on her personal page in early March asking if anyone was interested in helping feed local health care workers. The idea took off.
After the first few meals were delivered, Green created a Meals for Medical Facebook group, and the generosity grew exponentially. The group now includes more than 3,200 local members, and Green estimates they’ve served more than 12,000 meals in April and May (the latest available data as of press time). They’ve provided food for nurses and doctors in all of the emergency rooms, intensive care units and isolation units at surrounding hospitals, and have also fed Chatham County Emergency Medical Services personnel and first responders.
“It’s been awesome,” Green says. “It was better than I ever expected, and for me to not be a formal nonprofit, just an individual in the community with an idea — it’s amazing that people were so willing to give.”
During a time of economic slowdown, Meals for Medical has actually served dual benefits. The group has kept hungry health care workers strong as they battle the virus while also keeping local restaurants churning out dozens of meals through donations from community members.
“Working with Meals for Medical was both a blessing and a privilege for us,” says Leighton Maher of Café at City Market. “They provided a platform for the community to help struggling small businesses and the hard-working medical personnel.”
As the virus first reared its head in the community, many medical heroes rushed in to do what they could, working long hours and often forgetting to take care of themselves. Meals for Medical has helped fill that gap and give health care staff the strength they need to keep going, says St. Joseph’s/Candler emergency room nurse Mary Rice.
“When Meals for Medical started bringing in food it helped brighten our day. Finding out that it is 100 percent funded by donations from our community made us feel a sense of love and support,” Rice says. “There were days that were really trying. Coming out of a bad moment to see fresh and hot meals made us know that our community was behind us.”
Many of the donations for meals have come from individuals in the community, though businesses and restaurants have stepped up to the plate to purchase or donate meals as well. As businesses reopen, Green and her Meals for Medical friends are looking for new ways to continue the spirit of giving. Green says she hopes to turn the informal Facebook group into a real nonprofit and look for new ways to give back to the health care workers who keep us safe.
“It’s been a really big endeavor, and it shows that this community knows how to come together when things get tough,” Green says.
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