A group of Hilltown neighbors has come up with a creative way to support local restaurants struggling during the COVID-19 crisis while providing much-needed meals to the first responders and medical professionals working long shifts.
“Meals for the Front Line” is a Go Fund Me campaign launched a couple of weeks ago by Andrea Kelly and several friends. So far, they have raised just over $2,500 to provide lunches and dinners to doctors, nurses, and police officers throughout the area.
On Wednesday, for example, the campaign sent health care workers at Grand View Urgent Care in Sellersville and Lehigh Valley Hospital’s Health and Testing Center in Quakertown a delicious meal from Perkasie’s Rise and Grind Cafe. Earlier in the week, cafe owner Tina Rushton delivered goodies to officers working in Hilltown and Perkasie police departments.
“It is humbling to be part of such an amazing community and I’m honored to be part of this project,” she said. “We definitely want to stay with it for as long as we can and hope more people join in. Any little bit counts and seeing the heroes’ reactions to the makes it worth all the while.”
The mission of “Meals for the Front Line” is simple, says Kelly: to stimulate the local economy and feed front-line fighters who are working selflessly to save lives during the pandemic. She was inspired by the work of her husband, Brian, a doctor in the Emergency Room at St. Luke’s Hospital, and his colleagues.
At the same time, Kelly knew some of her favorite local restaurants faced an uncertain future as government restrictions forced them to close their facilities and only offer takeout or delivery service.
“As a community, we felt a responsibility to do something meaningful,” said Kelly. “It’s a two-for-one kind of deal.”
For Christine Hawkins and Alicia DeMarco, owners of Nourish Kitchen and Catering in Perkasie, it has been an opportunity to fulfill their mission “to feed people.” while being closed to the public during the state’s shutdown order. So far, they‘ve provided about 200 meals – everything from their famous chicken salad to hummus and fruits and vegetables for workers at Children’s Hospital in Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia, and Einstein Hospital’s Hospice Care unit in Norristown. On Friday, they sent 100 nutritious meals to Einstein Health’s COVID-19 floor in Philadelphia.
“It feels really good to be able to play a small part in a much bigger picture,” said Hawkins. “We get to do what we love to do and help people at the same time.”
Other local businesses are stepping up to help with the fundraising. The Hickory Stick, an ice cream shop on Route 113 in Hilltown, is offering a free kiddie cone with sprinkles for any donation of $15 or more through April 4. Eric & Christopher, a Perkasie pillow and tote manufacturer, is donating 15 percent of its newly launched online sales effort to the cause.
“We’re just trying to make a difference during this crisis,” said Kelly. “If we can help our local businesses and support the workers on the front line, we will have accomplished that goal.”
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