It’s a rough Fall season here in Kalamazoo. The country, the State of Michigan, and Kalamazoo County seem to be continually reaching new heights in terms of Coronavirus spread, and new regulations to keep us healthy and safe in Michigan have gone into effect today. We are in the second wave and the volunteers of Feed the Fight Kalamazoo are here to offer community solidarity to our overrun healthcare workers.
Over the summer, while restaurants reopened and our healthcare systems returned to delivery of all different kinds of care to local residents, we only undertook pinpoint deliveries, prepared to spring back into action should COVID-19 rear its ugly head again. We’ve made several deliveries in the past few weeks—to medical staff at WMU Sindecuse Health Center, to residential staff working at a WMU isolation dorm for Covid-positive students, to Community Living Options, and finally, on Election Day, to all the staff at the Family Health Center, in a large-scale operation from 8 different restaurants. You can see a lot of what we have been up to on our social media feed.
We are also tremendously proud to have been honored by the Family Health Center (FHC) as one of three ‘Healthcare Heroes’ at their ‘We Rise 2020’ Virtual Gala in late October. The event was filled with inspiration around community solidarity in dealing with the pandemic.
In making us aware of the award, Denise Crawford, CEO of the FHC wrote, in part:
“Your work over this past year has been nothing short of amazing. When so many other individuals went to shelter in place on the governor’s order you immediately went to work and thought – how can you support your communities and particularly the essential workers on the frontline. Your care and your compassion made such a difference in the lives of all 300 employees right here at Family Health Center. Over a ten week period you brought over 3000 meals every Tuesday and Thursday and delivered them to us. […] People could look forward to that, and more importantly, it let them know that the community was with them, that the community cared, and despite the fact that we continued to stay open, and we provided necessary essential healthcare services, that there were others outside who were also right there along with us ensuring that we continued to have care and compassion. On behalf of the Family Health Center, we are honored to present you with a 2020 Healthcare Hero award.”
Our frontline healthcare workers now need our support more than ever, and our local restaurants – more than 80 have participated in deliveries thus far – are struggling too.
This Friday, we will be making a delivery to Pride Care Ambulance at 11:30 am and plan to ramp up our activities as we come through the Thanksgiving Holiday. We have so much to be thankful for in our community. Not least, the tremendous solidarity that Kalamazoo residents can show for one another and the desire to come together to protect our public health and come out stronger together on the other side.
In case you missed the ceremony online, here’s a picture of (left to right) Sally, Jodi, and Adam accepting the Healthcare Heroes award in front of the Family Health Center’s building in late October. It’s only the second time that we’ve been in the same place at the same time since Feed the Fight launched in April.
In accepting the award, each of us made remarks. Here, in part, is what Adam shared:
“FTFK has been a large effort and the three of us have only been a tiny part of the team that has made this happen. We’ve had over 70 volunteers working in all sorts of different capacities. [ … ] Most of all, we want to thank the people who have been providing the healthcare work in the community, the frontline responders, in the difficult, scary work of dealing with this pandemic and we wanted to reach out to help them and the community really responded and came together. We had a huge outpouring of support and we were able to provide our support to the people who were really on the frontlines of the fight against Covid. And that is what makes us happiest about this – that we were able to make a difference in the community, we were able to allow the people in the community who wanted a way to help, to find a way that they could help the restaurants, they could help the community, and most of all they could help the healthcare workers and frontline people in the fight against Covid.”
We are back in action as our community faces the highest infection rates since this pandemic began. Vaccines are on the horizon but we are not there yet. Please help us FEED THE FIGHT and continue our work of community solidarity at this challenging time.