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North Shore communities work to provide meals for health care workers

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As health care workers continue to show up to work while others stay home, people in the North Shore have decided that the medical workers should not have to worry about bringing their lunch or dinner. 

The staff at Gemelli Gourmet Market North in Glen Head are offering free breakfast and lunch for doctors and nurses. “We appreciate you and all that you do, now come enjoy a meal on us,” the store posted on its Facebook page. 

Alessia Schutz, an owner of the store, said that although she is not on the frontlines like healthcare workers, she has an idea of how they must feel interacting with so many people during a pandemic. But she also said she couldn’t imagine what the nurses and doctors are going through. The medical workers that received meals from her store have expressed gratitude, she said and everyone seems to want to pay it forward. 

The Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce, Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, North Shore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Gold Coast Business Association are encouraging the community to become involved by using an online source — Meal Train. The website simplifies the process of donating a meal for an individual or organization. One only needs to pick a day, pledge a donation for a meal and order it through a restaurant of their choice. The food is then delivered. Glen Cove Hospital needs roughly 100 meals a day.  

The business organizations are hopeful that the donations will let health-care workers know that their community stands by them.

“We are very happy to be working with this coalition of community groups to support our healthcare workers and our businesses in this very difficult time,” said Ever Padilla, the president of the North Shore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

The possibility of using Meal Train was also announced at the Glen Cove City Council meeting on March 24. Councilwoman Danielle Fugazy Scagliola was among the residents who have already used Meal Train to provide meals to the staff at Glen Cove Hospital. 

“Those meal trains are such a nice way to get food to people on the front lines,” she said. And she added, Meal Train is also an excellent way to support restaurants that have been impacted by the pandemic. “We have a great community here and we’re pulling together, even if we’re not together.” 

Hospital workers said they were grateful for the meal they received on March 24 from Meal Train. "We received chicken parmesan and a tossed salad yesterday and it was awesome to receive," said John McDermott, a nurse manager at Glen Cove Hospital. "These are stressful times and it was so wonderful to not have our nurses and healthcare workers need to plan what their meal was going to be.”

It gave the hospital workers more time to take care of their patients, he added and it provided for an opportunity to relax and enjoy a delicious meal. “My unit wants to thank the people who are donating food to the hospital for this wonderful service," McDermott said.

To donate lunch or dinner go to mealtrain.com.