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With restaurants struggling to stay open and hospital staff working night and day to care for the sick and elderly, many have found themselves asking: How can I help?
It was exactly that question – posed in a late-night text between Christina Wilson Berger and Preetha Kurudiyara – which resulted in the creation of Feed Our Frontline Hospital Staff MKE, an initiative which has already raised over $12,000 in less than two weeks and delivered over 500 meals to grateful hospital staff.
Berger says it’s been a busy two weeks, navigating hospital rules and regulations and reaching out to discuss partnerships with area restaurants who can supply food that meets their stringent guidelines, along with provisions for balanced meals that accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies.
But she says she's grateful for everyone who's stepped up to help, including Alexa Alfaro, co-owner of Meat on the Street.
"Our early partnership with Meat on the Street was crucial and allowed for the first meals to be delivered to hospitals in a matter of days." says Berger. "Alexa’s vision for the meals and keen understanding of how to deliver food in this new environment, helped us rapidly achieve hospital approval."
In the past two weeks, meals have been delivered to numerous hospitals including Froedtert, St. Francis Ascension, Elmbrook Memorial, and St. Joseph’s. And those meals have been met with positive feedback from staff, who’ve expressed that the meals are "moments of happiness" which make them feel loved and appreciated by the community.
Berger says that Meat on the Street was instrumental in delivering some of the inaugural meals for the campaign, and she is looking for other restaurants who can do the same.
"We recognize that hospitals are 24/7 operations," she says. "So we are endeavoring to make deliveries across all shifts, ensuring that we’re supplying meals for as many workers as possible."
"There are a lot of restrictions and rules that we have to follow," she continues. "But we have an additional five to seven restaurants that will be joining us to help in the coming weeks. And we’re working with them to provide safe, balanced meals that meet the hospitals’ requirements."
However, as COVID 19 cases continue to rise in the greater Milwaukee area, the need for ongoing donations is vital to the program, which is gearing up to support hospital staff in the harrowing weeks to come.
How to help
Individual donations are vital to the ongoing operation of the program, which is hoping to supply meals to all shift workers at a variety of hospitals in the coming weeks. [You can donate here]
Restaurant partners are also needed to prepare and deliver meals in keeping with hospital regulations. Those interested in partnering on meal delivery for the program should send a message to Christina Berger through GoFundMe.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.