With restaurants struggling to stay open and hospital staff working intensely long hours under stress, a late-night text message between friends Christina Wilson Berger and Preeth Kurudiyara resulted in an opportunity to help.

The Feed Our Frontline Hospital Staff MKE GoFundMe campaign launched on March 28 and raised $12,605 of its $25,000 goal by April 2. The initiative is collecting donations to purchase meals from local restaurants that can be delivered to various hospital staff in the Milwaukee.

More than 500 of these meals have already been served to area medical staff. Located in Westown district of Milwaukee, Alexa Alfaro’s restaurant Meat on the Street has helped provide many of meals for the campaign.

“An 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.” said 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.”

The meals meet most dietary restrictions and allergies, including both vegan and carnivore options. In the past two weeks, meals have been delivered to Froedtert, St. Francis Ascension, Elmbrook Memorial, and St. Joesph’s. Feedback from the hospital staff has been wonderful. The hospital staff has stated the meals are their moment of happiness, makes them feel loved and thought about by their community.

“The experience has shown me how food can bring people together and provide a moment of happiness during this pandemic,” said Alfaro. “The hospital staff has been extremely appreciate of the food and our ability to feed vegan and gluten-free meals.”

As COVID 19 cases continue to rise in the greater Milwaukee area, so does the need to offering frontline medical workers a small measures of comfort in order to relieve their fatigue. Ongoing donations are important to keep the GoFundMe campaign funded, to provide support to hospital staff over the coming weeks of peak demand that is expected to hit Milwaukee medical facilities.

“Food really is an equalizer that speaks all languages especially when made with love,” added Alfaro.

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