Today, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray announced the expansion of the Food For Heroes program to bring daily meals to an additional 2,000 healthcare workers and essential staff across New York City.
A program of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, Food For Heroes was established to support New Yorkers working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April 15th, 2020, two grab-and-go meals per day have been provided to 1,250 staff members at Elmhurst Hospital, the facility hardest hit by COVID-19. By May 15, 75,000 Food For Heroes meals will have been served at Elmhurst.
“New Yorkers on the frontline of the fight against this virus are making heroic sacrifices for their city every day. We’re winning this fight because of their service and commitment, and we need to keep doing everything we can to support them. I thank New Yorkers and our generous partners for coming together to support our heroic hospital staff and essential workers during this unprecedented crisis,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“Our city’s healthcare and essential workers are bravely putting the well-being of New Yorkers and their families before their own, and we are deeply grateful,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Their professionalism is appreciated more than ever, as they ease the pain of the suffering and provide comfort during this time of exceptional need. We thank our fellow New Yorkers for stepping up to support, sustain, and nourish these heroes, as they continue to save lives and keep our city safe.”
With the help of a grassroots fundraising campaign that has garnered nearly 8,500 individual donations, on May 11, 2020, Food For Heroes began delivering lunch to Office of the Chief Medical Examiner staff. Approximately 22,200 meals will be served across four temporary disaster field sites.
The expansion of the program will also include at least 24,000 meal deliveries in the coming weeks for medical staff who have elected to stay at two New York City hotels to protect vulnerable family members at home. These brave professionals are working grueling hours without the care and support of their loved ones to return home to each day. The comfort of a warm meal means a great deal to New York City’s healthcare heroes during these difficult times.
Additionally, a partnership between Food For Heroes and Food 1st —a nonprofit organization created by the SL Green Realty Corp. to feed frontline workers, first responders, and medical personnel—will provide meals to out-of-state medical volunteers who are staying at two other hotels while they serve the City’s hospitals. The partnership activates the kitchens of some of SL Green’s food and beverage tenants, bringing some restaurant staff safely back to work to make and deliver meals for the selfless healthcare volunteers who have traveled to New York City to volunteer.
The Food For Heroes expansion will bring at least 166,200 meals to healthcare professionals and other essential workers across the city. The Mayor’s Fund is continuing its campaign to secure funding for additional meals are additional sites. To learn more or donate, visit nyc.gov/fund.
“Thanks to New Yorkers and our partner, SL GREEN, for coming together to support each other and healthcare and essential workers to make today’s announcement possible,” said Peter Hatch COVID-19 Private-Public Partnership Czar. “We are thrilled to expand the Food for Heroes program and provide a little comfort to medical staff who are staying in hotels alone after tending COVID-19 patients to protect their families.”
“We have always known that New York City is full of heroes–they are our friends and family, our neighbors, and the strangers we pass on the street. This crisis has called them to action in ways many of us do not see, yet they continue to do the vital work of keeping our city safe and cared for,” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “There is no greater goal of public-private partnership than to give back to those who have given so much. To our morgue workers laboring long hours, our healthcare workers who have separated themselves from their homes to protect their families, and the medical professionals from across the country who have come to our city’s aid during these trying times: we hope the collective gratitude of New York City is felt with each meal. ”
“NYC Health + Hospitals facilities are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, and our heroic employees are providing life-saving support to all New Yorkers. It is our goal to ensure that our health care workers have as many resources as possible so they can continue to provide high-quality care to our patients, said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “We are extremely grateful for the Food for Heroes program and their continued commitment to helping to feed and care for our healthcare workers.”
“The international outpouring of support for healthcare and medical workers has been deeply meaningful to the staff at this agency,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson. “On behalf of my team, I extend my thanks to the Mayor’s Fund and its partners for this token of recognition for the hard work and long hours that we proudly endure serving the residents of this great city.”
Photo credit: Bill de Blasio and Chirlane Mccray.