I have been in pharmaceuticals for over two decades and I have seen many changes in the healthcare landscape, but nothing like what has happened recently with Coronavirus pandemic. I watched healthcare givers on the front lines display an immense amount of courage and passion to help heal the patients even though they were risking their own lives. I knew something had to be done to show them, “we stand by you.” We stand by your courage and bravery on the front lines.
It all started with an idea of a text chain to a few friends to feed Christiana Hospital Emergency Department on March 22nd. The response was so overwhelming - friends wanting to donate and share this idea. That is when Feeding the Front Lines Healthcare Givers campaign was born on Go Fund Me. The campaign evolved into a two-pronged approach where the campaign funds could support many local restaurants while feeding healthcare givers. It was a win-win for everyone involved.
The generosity of our community in Delaware was heartwarming. The original campaign goal was $1,000, but we quickly raised over $4,700. This enabled the campaign to send meals to every major hospital in the entire state of Delaware, including some of Christiana’s Covid-19 testing sites. To date, we have fed over 1,200 healthcare givers in the state while supporting many restaurants and small businesses in the area.
Knowing this fight on the front lines was going to go on for months, Michael Shone, a long time Delaware area resident, called me with the idea to join forces with Sarah Lester, CEO and President of Cornerstone West Cornerstone Development Corporation. As a tax-deductible organization, one of Cornerstone West CDC’s key strategy is to support small businesses and local ‘Main Streets’ in the West Side of Wilmington. Cornerstone has a track record of piloting projects in the West Side to replicate and grow with many partners throughout New Castle County. It made sense for the three of us to join forces. The combination of my healthcare experience and hospital contacts, members of the Shone family’s generous $15,000 matching contribution donation and Sarah’s organization resulted in a new campaign called Heroes and Restaurants.
What differentiates Heroes and Restaurants from other good will organizations is that our team is focused on delivering meals to all sorts of “heroes,” from healthcare workers, to firefighters, volunteers, long-term care facilities and other community organizations working tirelessly to support their neighbors through this time.
It’s amazing how one small idea can blossom into something that can impact thousands in one community. If we all do one small act of helping one another in this crisis, it has a cumulative effect and we can get through it together.