Getting a moment to eat can be hard for healthcare workers and first responders. One Westport mom saw it first hand as her daughter headed out for a shift with the Wesport EMS COVIT-19 team.
Like any mom, Nicole Straight found a way to give back.
“I’m really proud of my daughter and I tell her all the time, you are the reason I started this,” said Straight, who started “Food for the Front Line.”
Last month she decided to say thank you with dinner for her daughter and co-workers, as well as a friend who worked in the emergency room. It was about 40 meals.
“By Sunday, we will have bought and delivered more than 6,500 meals to all of the local hospitals and EMS in Fairfield County,” said Straight.
It is a fast-growing effort. They raise money to buy individually-prepared meals from local restaurants and donate those meals to hospital and EMS staff.
The individual meals save time and reduce the possible disease spread from shared foods like pizza and platters. They also help two groups at one time.
“I know that doing this isn’t going to necessarily save a restaurant, but if it can keep one or two of their employees employed for an extra couple days, it does matter, it does help,” said Straight.
It’s the first week of Food for the Front Line in New Haven and a team coordinated “taco Tuesday” from Geronimo’s for Yale New Haven Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. It was covered by a hospital staff’s family.
“They’re having to deal with some really emotionally heavy issues,” said Matthew Peterson, a New Haven coordinator. “That doesn’t go away when you do something nice for them today, they need something nice tomorrow and the next day after that.”
Peterson is owner of Homewatch CareGivers of New Haven. He says he knows how important this effort is. This week, they’ve donated nearly 200 meals including to St. Raphael and Advanced Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
“It’s great to send a thank you to first responders and healthcare workers, but to actually see someone, helping them and say thank you in person, there’s just a warmth that comes back,” said Peterson. “When you walk in to a facility like that and you bring food, the people are truly, truly appreciative.”
This Sunday, 1,000 meals will be delivered to Stamford Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital for a special Easter dinner with Pastor Kevin Mullins from Broad River Church and Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
“Pastor Mullins is going to be blessing the meals and thanking them and wishing everyone safety and well wishes and it’s just a small way of us giving thanks for their hard work,” said Straight.