New initiative donates healthy foods to front line medical workers amid pandemic

A new initiative in the Twin Cities is collecting donations from the public to order meals for hospital workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feeding the Frontline MN launched about a week ago, with the dual purpose of feeding local medical teams and supporting local restaurants. It has already raised more than $23,000.

Coordinators dropped off about 100 meals at Bethesda Hospital last week and another 100 at Regions Hospital Tuesday. They plan to keep making deliveries at hospitals across the area.

"Keeping our frontline workers healthy right now in their exhausting 12-hour shifts, whatever we can do to support them," said Feeding the Frontline MN Founder Anna Decker.

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Decker said 100% of donations go to buying meals from health-focused local restaurants, including AgraCulture, Tao Natural Foods, Whole Sum Kitchen and Vibe Organic Juice Bar. JonnyPops and Nomi also plan to donate nutrient-dense, packaged snacks.

Coordinators said these orders are helping to keep local eateries afloat at a time when business is suffering due to the closure of dining areas.

"I know these small restaurants we’re getting calls from have already laid off a lot of staff, and now they’re hiring them back on to help execute these large orders," explained Christina Sandok, owner of Minneapolis-based Prescribe Nutrition, who is helping with this effort.

"We’re still actively shaping the future and what the Twin Cities is going to look like coming out of this," added Decker. "So to be able to support businesses that we love and want to see standing is really important to us."

The initiative is focused on providing healthy food, packed with nutrients.

"It provides mental clarity, it provides physical stamina and it provides a stronger immune system," Sandok said. "And that’s exactly what our frontline medical team needs right now."

The effort has been widely appreciated by doctors and nurses.

"In addition to the nourishment food provides, having community outreach really nourishes our spirit as well," said Denise Teuber, nurse manager at Regions Hospital.

If you would like to donate to Feeding the Frontline MN, via the Fairview Foundation, click here.