I call it the Prince Howard Way, because this neighborhood has clearly been touched with love and compassion. When asked recently to donate for healthcare workers at the local hospital, the neighborhood quickly responded with acts of kindness, caring, and consideration.
I know this is not just happening in our neighborhood; it is surely happening many places, probably where you live, and, worldwide. This is just our small story at the edge of the universe.
Like any good story, this one started with love. Karen and a number of neighbor-friends were discussing ways in which we might be able to lend some small effort to make things better for those around us during these stressing times of the Coronavirus. The discussion, as you might guess, quickly landed on the healthcare workers that are risking their lives to help others.
We knew we could not provide ventilators, masks, protective suits, or most of the things that healthcare workers critically need. We did, though, have the ability to provide some small comfort for these healthcare workers who work long shifts, under adverse conditions, often quarantined at home (to protect family members), and have limited time for even a meal.
The decision was made to raise money in order to buy meals and deliver these meals to healthcare workers at the local hospital, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. Placing a donation flyer into the mail boxes within our subdivision, in three-day’s time, we raised close to $2,000! It is not lost on us that these funds were collected at a time when over 22 million people have submitted unemployment claims and are struggling to make ends meet. Thank you, neighbors!
These funds allowed us to help two communities: the healthcare workers (obviously), but also help some local restaurants whose businesses have been negatively impacted by these extraordinary circumstances. Karen and neighbor-friend Rebekah then went to work on finding restaurants that met our needs – and in return, maybe we could help them in some small way.
We had collected enough money that we could provide hundreds of meals and snacks to the hospital workers! Karen and Rebekah reached out to a number of local restaurants, particularly those who had previously shown support for our local community efforts (band, sports, fund raisers, charitable activities…) and asked them if they would help us participate in this effort. All were ready and willing to support our efforts.
After consideration, our team selected River Street Sweets, Zaxby’s, the Fat Lady Baker, GOOD Kitchen + Market, and Chicken Salad Chick as those most suitably able to help our efforts. I should note that these places were as excited as we were to help these healthcare workers. PLEASE, support these restaurants – now if they are open, and in the future! We need these good neighbors to survive and prosper.
Karen then reached out to the Kennestone Hospital liaison, so we could coordinate our deliveries of meals – determine the best times of day, days, and meal characteristics. Doctors, nurses and support staff barely have time to pause, so creating meals that could be individually wrapped and grabbed quickly was an important characteristic. Hot meals, while well intentioned, probably weren’t going to work as well as something that could be grabbed on the go, or refrigerated if not immediately used. And so, the effort began…
Our very first contributor, River Street Sweets (https://www.facebook.com/ilovepralinesATL/), is owned by friends/neighbors Jamie and Carrie Ann Wright. River Street Sweets is a Savannah-based, franchised candy store located at The Battery, next to SunTrust Park (renamed Truist Park recently) where the Atlanta Braves baseball team plays.
With this store opened just months ago and obviously now closed due to COVID19, Jamie and Carrie Ann very graciously drove to the store, prepared and delivered to us about 100 of the most delicious pralines you could possibly imagine. We bagged these up and delivered them to the hospital. Thank you, Jamie, Carrie Ann and River Street Sweets for this most generous DONATION. You are the best!
Recognizing that the hospital was receiving pizzas and other fast food from others, it seemed important to try to deliver health-conscious meals. Karen reached out to Peter and Veronica Thompkins at the GOOD Kitchen + Market (https://www.facebook.com/goodkitchenmarket/) located adjacent to the hospital. GOOD Kitchen + Market focuses on nutritious meals, seemed like a good matchup for our needs, had contacts within the hospital, and could deliver a large number of meals directly. Thank you, GOOD Kitchen + Market!
Rebekah reached out to the Chicken Salad Chick (https://www.facebook.com/ChickenSaladChickMarietta/) restaurant on Roswell Road to see if they would be willing and able to participate. They were most eager, prepared a large number of meals (packaged individually), and delivered to the hospital for us. Yeah Chicken Salad Chick!
Karen knew that one of the four essential food groups – sugar – was likely an unmet need on the floors at the hospital, particularly for the late-night workers. Karen reached out to the Fat Lady Baker (https://www.facebook.com/fatladybaker/) , which makes meals-to-go and bakery items (located right behind Montana’s on Johnson Ferry Road), to see if we could buy some cookies to deliver to the hospital. The Fat Lady Baker was MORE than supportive and DONATED 100 cookies – at no charge to us – for delivery to the hospital. Thank you, Fat Lady Baker!!
One of the local restaurants that has always been actively involved in the community is the local Zaxby’s (https://www.facebook.com/Zaxbys-150155968336456/) on upper Johnson Ferry Road. Likewise, they created a large number of individually packaged meals (various salads), and were willing and able to deliver directly to the hospital. Thank you Zaxby’s – again!
Not only was our community willing and able to help financially, but one of our neighbors (thank you Miranda) went to the level of creating home-made scrub caps. Clearly these caps will be highly valued given the current shortage and increased demand. You go Miranda!
The kids in the neighborhood wanted to show their love as well. Some of the kids crafted thank you cards which were delivered with several of the food drop-offs. Some of the MANY cards can be seen below – and they are really awesome; these might be my favorite part of this whole experience.
Because we could not enter the hospital, and because all our efforts were anonymous, we will never be able to tell you how these treats and meals have or will be appreciated within the hospital (the meals are being spaced out – so as of this writing, some have yet to be delivered).
No one at Kennestone will ever know the contributions came from us. As it should be.
All that the healthcare workers need to know is their community cares and supports their efforts, just as they show compassion and support for the anonymous patients that show up at the hospital every day needing medical care.
If you wish to donate to Kennestone Hospital, here is the link… it would be a more than worthy and appreciated donation. https://www.wellstar.org/foundation/pages/covid-19-relief.aspx
Thank you, healthcare workers, and thank you neighbors! Be smart, and be safe!