When all this COVID craziness started back in early March I had a wild hair of an idea. I thought it would be great to support our local front line medical workers with meals I would purchase from local restaurants. It seemed like the perfect way to help both sides that were hurting so much. It turns out that it helped one other group too. This project helped the community as well. There were so many of us stuck at home looking for a way to help. This little endeavor gave community members a way to help and follow along without having to leave their homes. So it was a win, win win!
Of course when I say ‘little’ endeavor I’m joking. It wasn’t so little. Originally I thought I might raise $5,000 and help a few restaurants and have a few meals served to the Swedish folks in the ER and ICU. What I ended up doing was much more than that! For starters we quickly expanded the departments and people who were receiving meals to many different departments in Swedish. We started with 100 meals per day and we ended with 325 per day being delivered. Here it is by the numbers:
I organized the first snack to arrive on March 17th and I was asked by Swedish to have the last meal arrive yesterday at the end of Nurse Appreciation Week. That’s 8 weeks of fun for those that are counting. Not bad for a little project!
With more than 800 donors I have not had a chance to thank all of you personally. So THANK YOU!! We had donations as small as $10 and as high as $2500. Some people donated their stimulus checks, some people donated fantasy sports pots and some donated their lunch money. ALL of it made this project possible! I LOVE to leverage the power of many donors to make a big difference in the community.
This enterprise has been such an uplifting project. It was fun to be the conduit of love sent into the hospital workers, aid sent to the restaurants and encouragement for the community. I’ve received so many lovely notes and stories over these weeks. I’ve shared a lot of them on social media but I thought I’d share a few here on my blog because not all of you follow me on Facebook.
‘Michelle you were a daily inspiration through these difficult and unsure times. Thank you for all you have helped , the staff at Swedish , the local restaurants and those of us who felt good about ourselves to have been able to donate and read daily the good being done. This last weeks wrap up means we are nearing healing.’
‘The signs and ribbons and ALL the love & support felt by our community melts my heart every day. The hospital crew will be thrilled about the street tacos. Folks are still talking about all the different restaurants and supporting them back when able.’
‘What an amazing thing you are doing for our health care professionals as well as our restaurants! And I so look forward to reading your updates – they bring bright moments to the day for sure.’
‘A big thanks to Sammamish Presbyterian for advertising your fundraiser as well. My family and I wanted to pass on the stimulus checks to some worthy causes.’
‘I felt like I needed to thank you personally for all of the hard work that you have been doing to help lift our spirits at work, and for giving support to the local restaurants that we love. I am an ICU nurse at Swedish Issaquah, and to see the support come in so frequently and know how much effort that is taking on your part, is absolutely amazing. I have been a nurse for 20 years and have always loved my job, but to feel the support of the entire community has been so touching and humbling at the same time. I don’t think that I can put into words how much this has helped us and lifted our spirits during those hard nights. We will forever be thankful for you and the entire community.’
‘I cant describe how grateful we are for the service you are providing for the staff & local restaurants. Your communications & organizing skills are amazing. Thank you for your time & energy. ‘
‘Blessings to you! I have so enjoyed reading your daily posts about the restaurants & food that will be delivered to Swedish front line. Thank you for coordinating all of these people! ‘
‘A few of the night ICU folks last night saying Thank you for dinner!!! The individual boxes of Girl Scout cookies were sooo fun!! Lot & lots of smiles!!’
‘Michelle, who knew your initial efforts would blossom into such a demonstration of community caring and generosity! God bless.’
‘Love what you are doing. I have a dear friend in ICU there as we speak, cannot say enough wonderful things about the healthcare staff ❤️’
‘Thank you for these clever and positive updates. I am taking notice of all restaurants that are participating so generously. ‘
‘Thank you for coming up with and executing on this wonderful idea. Many people have been ordering take out to help support local restaurants, but combining that with providing relief to our local medical workers is genius!
‘In the ED I hear people say that when they get to eat warm (delicious) food it makes them feel like they can get through the day. You are making a difference!’
‘I get choked up just about every time I read the update. Helping Swedish (Issaquah 😉 and the local restaurants and trucks is just tremendous! Thanks for your tireless efforts – and our wonderful community!’
‘I know how hard you are working for all of us. We are in this together and we will make it together. We are Americans!!!!’
‘Many thanks Michelle! You are an amazing soul! Let this be a positive challenge to other communities to rally for their medical workers on the front line! Great work! ‘
Probably one of the biggest compliments came from one of my restaurant contacts. He said that he was so inspired by all that I’d accomplished and done for the community that he was now looking for ways to make a difference too. Love multiplies!
Wow! I am so grateful to have been involved in something that has been appreciated by so many people and doubly grateful that people took the time to write to me. I am a project driven person and since my business has been on the back burner during all this social distancing I am so lucky to have had all of this to work on.
One of the strangest things about this project is that I have not met ANY of the healthcare workers, almost none of the restaurant folks and I don’t know most of the donors either. It’s funny how all this social distancing has kept us apart yet brought us together on the things that really matter. I can’t wait for things to open up so I can run around and meet everybody! (That is why I decided to put a picture of myself in this blog post. So at least YOU can meet ME until then!)
Here is a list of all of the restaurants if you would like to try any of them. I’ve got a BUNCH on my list that I still need to try personally!
(*donated snacks for no payment!)
If you have made it to the end of this blog post, well God Bless you and thanks for sticking with me to the end! (And I mean that in many different ways!)