The Community Foundation is proud to work with a thoughtful group of people who have partnered with their local communities to show appreciation for our frontline medical workers while supporting struggling restaurants.
“Our mission is to serve the frontline medical community and local restaurants . We have created an infrastructure with Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) that enables us to efficiently and effectively combine donations to feed the greatest number of frontline workers at the same time helping local restaurants stay in business and pay their employees,” said Monica Toomey, one of the co-founders of FLAG.
A group of six moms from Bloomfield Hills started the regional group as a way to be helpful and inspiring; within 3 weeks they have raised over $150,000. “Everyone’s hearts go out to the medical community — the people on the front lines who are serving every day and doing so much. … (This is) an easy way to make an impact and keeps us all in our homes, where we need to stay,” she told the Oakland Press.
This is the fourth COVID-19 related fund at the Community Foundation with 100% of funds going back out into the community. It is another outstanding example of how the southeast Michigan community of donors is rallying around efforts like this.
The new FLAG fund will help collect and pool funds of any size donation in order to purchase meals from a local restaurant that then delivers those meals to a local hospital. It might seem like just food, but it also sends such an important message to our frontline workers that we are thinking of them, we are so grateful, and that we are all in this together. More than 19,000 meals have already been delivered.
The group was inspired by the original FLAG group created by a couple families from Chatham and Madison New Jersey. It is families pulling together to help those on the front lines while benefiting local restaurants and economy. It is a win-win for the community.
Many FLAG groups are launching all over the country, this one will help support our region and metro Detroit. The group is asking for small donations of $10-20 to buy meals.
In the first 4 weeks since the FLAG group formed, over $200,000 in donations (the majority of which is from individuals) has been collected. More than 21,000 meals have been delivered to 40 hospitals and 30 restaurants in metro Detroit benefitted from over $150,000 paid for meals. On Easter weekend alone, FLAG delivered 6,500 meals to over 10 hospitals in Detroit, Pontiac, Ann Arbor, Rochester, to name just a few.
The average delivery feeds 200-400 people, so with $25,000 the frontline staff at 8-12 hospitals can be fed. Both lunch and dinner deliveries are made to allow both day and night time shifts to be fed.
The doctors, nurses, nurse aides, x-ray techs, lab techs, respiratory therapists, cleaning staff, etc. are working many long, hard hours. Cafeterias are closed in many hospitals and there is very little, if any, down time for staff to get food to provide much needed energy. The meals delivered provide fuel for hospital staff to sustain their rigorous pace, which is both physically and mentally exhausting.
FLAG would like to continue to not only feed frontline heroes but also show support, appreciation and gratitude as hospital workers continue to battle the virus. Michigan has become one of the hardest-hit states with COVID-19, ranking fifth for the most deaths and the most cases behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
FLAG’s goal is to continue on as long as there is need and deliver 1,000 – 1,500 meals a day to hospitals in metro Detroit, which would require weekly donations amounting to $50,000 to continue.
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