ROSELAND — Roseland Community Hospital has become a key cog in Chicago’s battle against the coronavirus, opening the first drive-through testing site on the South Side.
When hospital CEO Tim Egan put out a call last week for meal donations for health care workers on the front lines and patients, local restaurants answered it.
Pullman restaurants Majani Soulful Cuisine and Lexington Betty Smokehouse cooked, packaged and helped deliver nearly 200 meals beginning last week, and they expect to keep the food coming for several more weeks.
“Our doctors and nurses are working very long hours to try to control this pandemic the best they can, and we just need to have 100 percent support for them,” said Dominique Leach, owner of Lexington Betty. “And if that means a hot meal to regain some momentum or a hot meal that will make you feel at home, we’re all in this together.”
Both restaurants operate out of the One Eleven Food Hall at 756 E. 111th Street. The food hall is one of the projects of the Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative, a nonprofit working to rebuild neighborhoods like Pullman and Roseland.
Jennifer Bransfield, chief operating officer and general counsel of Chicago Neighborhoods Initiative, said the food donations was made possible through a $25,000 grant from U.S. Bank Foundation.
“When the crisis hit, CNI, we’re not a social services agency, we’re a nonprofit that focuses on real estate development and lending activities, Bransfield said. “But we looked inward to see if we could find ways to support our community partners and reached out to the U.S. Bank Foundation.”
In addition, the Onyx Paper Company donated hundreds of to-go boxes, Bransfield said.
All Lexington Betty meals were personally delivered by Dominique Leach and her team Thursday afternoon.
Lexington Betty and Majani showcased their many offerings with meals that included smoked chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens and a sweet potato cookie. There were also vegetarian meals that included a taco and black bean wrap, a garden salad and a sweet potato cookie.
According to Tadakeeyah Ben Emmanuel, co-owner of Majani along with his wife Nasya, it was not a one-time event.
“We want to support the staff and residents there, and this will be ongoing for the next two weeks at the Roseland Hospital,” said Emmanuel.
And Roseland Hospital has not been the only one to benefit from the meals. Bransfield said 300 meals were distributed in Altgeld Gardens last week.
“Using our own operating cash we were able to provide the 300 meals to residents,” said Bransfield. “We hope to continue to provide support in Pullman to the entrepreneurs, residents and organizations that fall within the community that clearly can use some help during this crisis.”
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