You can thank hospital workers and help local businesses by buying a meal

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The pandemic has been extremely challenging for many hospital workers.

They've taken on more patients while working long hours.

If you'd like to say 'thank you' for their hard work there is a way you can help.

"Every day our staff members show up and they show up to work in unbelievable situations with challenges," says Community Medical Foundation Senior VP Katie Zenovich.

One way to help hospital workers while keeping local businesses busy is by donating meals

"...if we can sustain them by supporting them with a hot meal at dinner or a great lunch from a local restaurant," says Zenovich.

Back at the start of the pandemic, Community Medical Centers launched a campaign called 'Sustain!' - an effort to reward staffers for working long hours and risking their lives to help COVID-19 patients

"We're able to purchase the meals through donations and or some folks are actually donating the meals themselves and we will coordinate the meals directly to the department that need it the most," says Zenovich.

The owner of Sam's Deli, Nick Marziliano, says, "We're part of the community and I wanted to help out so I sent probably the first 300 meals on our dime to help out to the hospitals."

That was back in March.

Marziliano says since then, donations for frontline medical workers have poured in.

"We started doing 200 here, 300 there, so we started doing about a thousand meals a week out of here."

Marziliano calls it his saving grace just as many businesses were shutting down.

Not only were the meals helping to soften the stress of hospital workers, but they were also keeping his employees on the payroll

"We didn't have to lay anybody off, we kept all of our staff here through this whole pandemic," says Marziliano.

The Sustain! campaign works with a number of local restaurants and community members to provide meals to hospital workers during the pandemic.

"I've had more than one break down in tears, going, 'I am so appreciative that somebody thought of me, that somebody realized what I'm trying to do here every day', and just that is priceless," says Zenovich.

You can find out more information about the Sustain! campaign here.
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