UPTOWN — Like many health care facilities in the city, Weiss Memorial Hospital is straining to provide care for the influx of patients with COVID-19.
But there is a way for the public to help out.
Weiss Hospital is seeking donated meals for its front-line health care workers during the coronavirus outbreak — and already the neighborhood is stepping up. After launching the meal donation request on Wednesday, nearly every lunch and dinner between then and Sunday has been claimed by people offering to provide meals.
“It’s a definite moral booster,” said Teresa Tuohy, director of medical education at Weiss Hospital. “Anything people can do, any encouragement they can give, is very much appreciated.”
As the coronavirus spreads in Chicago, hospitals are struggling to meet increased demand for care. A field hospital is being erected in McCormick Place in an effort to increase hospital beds in the city. Gov. JB Pritzker put out an urgent plea for retired health care workers to help out in the crisis — a call that has been answered by at least 1,100 people.
Weiss Hospital, 4646 N. Marine Dr., originally prepared one floor to serve those suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The hospital has since had to expand its coronavirus ward to a four floors, Tuohy said.
“It’s here, is all I can say,” Tuohy said. “We’re as ready as we can be.”
As health care workers endure long hours — sometimes with inadequate protective equipment — donations to the employees have become a popular way to show support.
So, Weiss Hospital set up a method by which businesses, charities and groups of individuals can donate meals to its front-line workers. A calendar has been set up on the website GiveInKind.com, where people can claim days they want to provide meals. Each day allows two donations, one for lunch and one for dinner.
Meals can come in any quantity that the donator is comfortable with, Tuohy said. With the exception of pizza, the meals must be individually wrapped. Treats and snacks — like individually wrapped cupcakes — are also accepted.
The meals will go to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, hospital admittance staff and clean-up crews working to combat the coronavirus. Tuohy rotates which floors and group of workers receive the meals.
Restaurants like Lakeview’s Panes Cafe, Lincoln Park’s Chez Moi and groups like the Lakewood Balmoral Residents’ Council have already reserved days to donate meals, as have many individuals. Before the campaign was launched, hospital workers had received about seven meals and other donations, including cards with words of encouragement from a local church group, Tuohy said.
“I handed a meal to a worker who was wearing a face mask, and they said, ‘There’s a smile behind this mask,'” said Tuohy. “I start crying every time I do this. People are so good.”
To donate: anyone wishing to provide meals to Weiss Hospital workers can do so by clicking here.
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