13 efforts giving back to St. Louis health care workers
Many St. Louis restaurants and businesses are coming up with ways to support nurses, doctors and other health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic. From meal and coffee donations to cocktails to-go, restaurants are getting creative with ways to help those on the frontline. (Click on each business's link for more information on how to donate.)
Juniper has partnered with Knead Bakehouse to create Meals for Meds, which donates meals to those working in health care. Over 20 restaurants, including Salt + Smoke, Elmwood and Pickles Deli, are currently accepting donations for the program, in an effort to purchase meals for employees at Barnes-Jewish, Missouri Baptist, Mercy and other hospitals.
“We started with 15 meals twice a day for four days, then 30 meals twice a day for four days the following week,” said Juniper chef-owner John Perkins. “This week, we’re doing it seven days a week. The growth is largely based off the fact that people have been very generous. It’s a win-win for both folks. The idea is donations come into restaurants, which help keep people employed, which is a huge benefit to restaurants in this time of reduced revenue. ”
The effort has already resulted in thousands of meals being donated, with many more to come.
“We’ve done over 600 meals just from Juniper,” Perkins said. “Mission [Taco Joint] has done almost 2,000, and across all the restaurants, we’re in the 3,500 range. Next week, we’re gonna grow exponentially because we’ve finally gotten a lot of these restaurants linked up hospitals, which logistically took a little longer than expected.”
Sump Coffee is accepting donations to buy coffee for health care workers. Customers who want to donate can choose between three local locations, including the neurology, labor and delivery, and emergency departments at Barnes-Jewish hospitals. Donations with a purchase range from $3 to $50 and can be made on sump2go.com.
They’re keeping us afloat while also … supporting the people on the front lines,” said Sump Coffee owner Scott Carey. “There is something comforting and familiar and safe about coffee. We wait till we get to the $50 level, and then we bring a whole coffee setup. Sometimes we throw some extra stuff in, like instant coffee or our cold brew cans.”
Each delivery includes a 96-ounce container of coffee, cartons of plant-based milk, coffee beans, cups and more. So far, Sump Coffee has donated about $1,800worth of coffee in six different deliveries to Barnes-Jewish hospitals.
The Last Hotel has also donated meals to those working in hospitals and as first responders in St. Louis. In partnership with E&J Gallo Winery and its business development manager Kendall Kraus, the hotel donated 30 pizzas to local firefighters and 36 meals to St. Luke’s Hospital. In addition, The Last Hotel partnered with Still630 to donate 230 meals to first responders, including a free container of hand sanitizer with every meal.
“We knew we were essential so we would stay open,” said director of food and beverage Will Rogers. “We want to remain active in the community.”
Three Kings Public House is collecting donations for meals to donate to hospitals. While placing a takeout order, customers can select a donation of $10, $25, $50 or $100 to purchase a meal that the restaurant will deliver. Three Kings also hosted school spirit-themed fundraising nights, when a percentage of each tab was donated to purchase meals. So far, about $5,000 has been donated to purchase meals for health care workers.
Narwhal’s Crafted, known for frozen cocktails, is donating hundreds of their drinks to health care workers. On social media, they invited customers to nominate friends and family working in health care to receive a free frozen cocktail. To nominate someone, visit Narwhal’s Crafted on Instagram or Facebook.
Bubba’s Deli is accepting donations to send meals to first responders and health care workers at several different hospitals. Customers have pitched in to purchase meals for nurses and doctors at Barnes-Jewish, St. Anthony’s, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge and Mercy Hospital. Some customers have even single-handedly donated over 50 sandwiches at one time to the cause, which has raised over $3,000 worth of meals in the past month.
Drunken Fish’s Central West End location has partnered with Sysco to give meals to health care workers. Starting April 30 until May 21, each Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., health care workers can stop by Drunken Fish for a free meal. To claim a free meal, bring a recent pay stub, a business card, or be in uniform. The meal includes a California roll, salad and chips. Any health care worker is included in this promotion. Call 314-367-4222 30 minutes prior to pickup recommended.
Ukraft has also started delivering meals to front line workers both in their homes and at hospitals like St. Luke’s and Barnes-Jewish. The effort, which began Thursday, April 23, has already raised $7,500 as of Friday, April 24.
“The beneficiary list is growing,” said owner Matt Ratz. “We’ll take any and all. We want to help those front line workers in the health care community, but we wanted to expand our outreach to include people that are being forgotten right now, like veterans and people with mental illness or addictions. All our meals are microwaveable, so they don’t have to be eaten right away.”
Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery is delivering 100 pints of their ice cream to health care workers and first responders each Friday. Cardinal Glennon Hospital and St. Vincent’s Home for Children are just two of the many places that Clementine’s has donated so far.
Kaldi’s Coffee is donating bags of coffee to first responders and health care workers. Kaldi’s created a special coffee blend called Gratitude Blend, with the proceeds benefiting the Gateway Resilience Fund. Nurses, doctors and first responders have received over 100 bags of the Gratitude Blend to brew at work or take home.
Ces and Judy’s Catering is another local business donating meals to local heroes. After the company donated meals to police officers, firefighters and health care workers at Mercy Hospital, its customers wanted to contribute. Meals can be purchased for $10, and deliveries to specific teams of health care workers and first responders are available. The catering company also recently launched Ces & Judy’s Kitchen Door, offering no-contact pickup and delivery.
The St. Louis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is raising money for member restaurants to provide for health care workers through their Carryout for la Comunidad initiative. This program purchases meals from restaurants to be donated to health care workers and patients’ families at Barnes-Jewish and Affinia hospitals.
Food For the Frontlines, from The Link Market, has already garnered over 1,200 meal donations from restaurants like Seoul Taco and Balkan Treat Box. Every $10 donation equates to one meal.
Erin Killion is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.
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