Medical personnel are working tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients. In order to help show the community’s gratitude for their efforts, Feed the Fight Boston is donating meals to those on the front lines in hospitals. It was started by four women from Newton in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working to support both local business and medical personnel in the greater Boston area.
One of the women who created Feed the Fight Boston, Ashley Spence, said that the organization has raised close to $9,000 through its GoFundMe pages since it started accepting donations on March 29.
Feed the Fight Boston has worked with Johny’s Luncheonette, Ellana’s Kitchen, Abbott’s Frozen Custard, and Sandwich Works. It ensures that the restaurants meet the health protocols of the hospital that the food is being delivered to. Then, a volunteer from Feed the Fight Boston or the restaurant delivers the food to the hospital.
Food has been delivered to a variety of hospitals in the Boston area, including Boston Medical Center and Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
“We are all motivated and passionate about our local restaurants and obviously for our family, our communities, and our neighbors to be safe during this time,” Spence said. “Sitting on the sidelines saying ‘What can we do to help?,’ we thought, ‘What better way to support our frontline workers than feed them, and then at the same time, supporting local restaurants that we love.’”
When Feed the Fight Boston first began, donations were only being made to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. As COVID-19 continued to spread, the women behind Feed the Fight Boston saw a need to support other hospitals in the Boston area. It began partnering with the Rotary Club of Newton, which gave the organization the ability to donate to multiple hospitals.
Established in 1923, the Rotary Club of Newton is one of more than 35,000 Rotary Clubs around the world. The club organizes hands-on volunteering at food pantries and community events, fundraises, and awards six scholarships to students annually.
The Executive Secretary, Public Image Chair, and former President of the Rotary Club of Newton Susan Faccenda Peghiny said Feed the Fight’s partnership with the Rotary Club adds validity to its charitable actions and allows donors to deduct a charitable donation from their taxes.
“They needed a 501(c)(3) to partner with them. It adds legitimacy to a donation to go to a nonprofit foundation,” Faccenda Peghiny said. “So we’re very well respected in the community, so people trust their giving to us. We have a reputation that kind of adds legitimacy to the effort.”
The Rotary Club of Newton is also working in other ways to support local businesses. It has purchased gift cards from local restaurants and donated them to families at the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton this week.
Faccenda Peghiny said that the Rotary Club of Newton is proud to be partnering with Feed the Fight Boston.
“So whenever somebody makes a donation I get an email, and man, they have been pouring in,” Faccenda Peghiny said. “It’s all overwhelming and a little scary—I’ve never handled this volume of stuff before. But it’s also really inspiring that people are being so generous.”
Feed the Fight Boston purchases the meals from the restaurants at the restaurants’ usual prices. Spence said she knows that the local restaurant community is hurting—by paying market value, Feed the Fight Boston hopes to help local businesses.
Feed the Fight Boston is also ensuring that the number of meals that they donate to each hospital is proportionate.
“So we’ve really outlined that large hospitals need about 100 meals and small to midsize hospitals need about 40 meals, and then we rotate through that list of hospitals, and then we basically spread the wealth to the local restaurants that are registered in the ezCater site,” Spence said.
Feed the Fight Boston is also launching a program that allows people making $500 donations to choose their favorite restaurants off the ezCater website to feed a medical staff. Then, Feed the Fight Boston will arrange the delivery of the meals.
Spence said that they have received many pictures from medical staff of smiling faces, especially on Friday, when Feed the Fight delivered ice cream.
“They’re so appreciative because they’re not having to go off site to get meals or to not have a meal their entire shift,” Spence said. “And so it’s saving them time, and where they’re able to go and spend that time with patients by just having meals ready for them. But then additionally it’s reducing the likelihood of them getting sick from having to go off site as well.”
Spence urged Newton residents to stay home and remember that fighting COVID-19 is going to be a long process. For those who cannot donate at this time, she said that spreading the word about hospital workers who are in need is also helpful.
Faccenda Peghiny said that Feed the Fight Boston has impacted the community in a variety of ways. She said that it has provided a way for people to help out and get involved.
“I think this gives many people in the community an outlet to contribute to the effort,” Faccenda Peghiny said. “And then obviously the direct benefit is the food will be purchased from local restaurants. We’re trying to shore up our local economy. And people who are endangering their lives every day get a little treat, and they’ll get a meal delivered. You know, that kind of stuff is what keeps your heart going.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Feed the Fight Boston