Local non-profit showing appreciation for first responders during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In less than four months, more than 4,000 meals were delivered to our first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

"It's such a comforting thing during this fairly scary time right now," says Resident Physician Sophia Froelich.

"It shows us how much they love us, how much they support what we do on a day to day basis," says Amy Campbell, RN.

The Frontline Appreciation Group, or FLAG Central Valley, has used donations to purchase and deliver the thousands of meals to our healthcare heroes.

"It's a real boost in morale that people do really appreciate what first responders and frontline healthcare workers do day to day," says Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.

The deliveries are coordinated by an army of one.

"When people are sick or stressed out, you bring meals and it's a small gesture, but it means so much," says Tali Whelan, RN.

Whelan added nonprofit founder to her resume at the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

"I know how difficult and tiring it can be, and then you add a pandemic on top of that, it can be a stressful experience," she said.

The Front Line Appreciation Group not only supports our first responders; it brings business to restaurants impacted by the shelter in place orders.

Whether it's a sweet treat or hot meal, Tali uses donations to purchase enough to feed 100 frontline workers at a time.

"Just to have that business and be able to rely on it is so helpful to these locally-owned restaurants," Whelan said.

A recent surge in Valley COVID-19 cases prompted indoor dining closures, so Whelan found a way to sustain the movement by partnering with community hospitals.

Each $10 donation provides one meal for a healthcare worker.

"With that money, we purchase meals specifically for Community and through the California Restaurant Association," Whelan said.

Though this was started as a way to support local restaurants and first responders during the pandemic, Whelan plans to continue as long as donations keep coming in.

If you want to donate, you van visit their website.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.