Businesses unite to provide free meals for local healthcare workers
IDAHO FALLS — Local healthcare workers have been on the front lines treating and screening patients since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and dozens of businesses are uniting to say thank you.
A local nonprofit called Mountain View Charity recently launched “Feeding our Heroes,” a program dedicated to providing thousands of free meals to workers on shift at Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Mountain View Hospital.
Cortney Liddiard, CEO of Ball Ventures, one of the sponsors of the program, tells EastIdahoNews.com the response from businesses and vendors has been surprising.
“Part of the entire concept was to be able to target restaurants that are struggling (so we could) benefit their business,” Liddiard says. “Without fail, every vendor has wanted to offer a discount. Some vendors have provided meals for free. It makes you realize how blessed we are and what great community members we have when it comes to circling around a cause.”
More than $70,000 has been raised for the program, which got underway about a week and a half ago. At least 20 businesses are sponsoring it, including Bank of Idaho, Idahoan Foods, Kyani, Bank of Commerce, Citizens Community Bank, Zions Bank and Wheeler Electric.
Liddiard says it is benefitting about 100 people per shift.
The inspiration for “Feeding our Heroes” was prompted by a conversation one of Liddiard’s employees had with a healthcare worker about what they’ve been experiencing since the pandemic started.
“I wasn’t aware they were (short-staffed) so much and some of them didn’t even have the time to go down to the cafeteria and grab something to eat because of how (pressed) they were,” says Liddiard. “These are the folks that are on the front lines dealing with some of the results. We wanted to focus in and help recognize them.”
Liddiard says it’s frustrating for healthcare workers to hear people’s opinions about masks and other issues related to COVID. Most people are not aware of how much work these men and women do on a daily basis, he says, and this program is a way to show appreciation for them.
“I really feel for the healthcare professionals,” Liddiard says. “Most don’t feel (the impact of the virus) and probably won’t until it’s your mom or your aunt. There’s so much more that goes on there than we realize. Their grit and dedication is inspiring. We wanted to show our appreciation in a meaningful way and are pleased our support can also help local restaurants.”
Meals will continue to be provided through Dec. 26. A total of about 3,500 meals are expected to be given by the time it’s over.
A similar program is in the works for Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. If you’re interested in donating funds, meals or time, visit the website.