Frontline Foods Vermont made its first delivery to staff at UVM Medical Center on Thursday, dropping off individually packaged meals at the entrance of the hospital’s Emergency Department, where health care providers are battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It just brings a little bit of humanity back into the day,” said Diane Imrie, Director of nutrition services at UVMMC.
Staff say the outpouring of community support has been a breath of fresh air. In a time full of unknowns, sitting down for a meal has been one of the furthest things from their mind.
“Food, it’s the one common denominator for everyone,” Imrie said. “It brings everyone to the same level. It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, nurse, or food service worker, its really encouraging for folks who are working hard on the inside.”
Thursday’s meals, chicken and crispy tofu rice bowls with vegetables, came courtesy of Great Northern on Pine Street in Burlington.
“They’re two little standard dishes that we try to give people who have never had our food,” said Frank Pace, chef owner. “Those are the dishes that we try to give people right off the bat.”
Pace said while his main focus is helping to feed his friends and neighbors on the front lines, cooking up the meals will help give the restaurant a hand, too.
“We get paid like a catering event,” he said. “It’s like a big takeout order so it’s definitely going to benefit us.”
While curbside pickup has also been paying off, the restaurant has still taken a hard hit during the pandemic. “We don’t know if this is going to stop the bleed, but we’ll figure it out,” Pace said. “We’re taking it day by day.”
Health care staff at UVMMC will get meal deliveries from other local restaurants in the days and weeks to come. Frontline Foods has raised more than $20,000 toward the effort.