For weeks, the news cycle has been full of grim and disheartening stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic is ripping through the United States and the world. In such a trying and unusual time, it’s easy to become absorbed in the negativity and miss the stories about everyday heroes who are using their time and resources to support the community.
Here, we highlight those positive stories that showcase the power of pulling together and supporting one another.
The Drexelbrook Special Events Center in Drexel Hill is teaming up with Visit Delco for Food for the Frontline, a program looking to deliver “power meals” meals to Delaware County hospitals. Supporters can purchase a single meal for $9.50, and a purchase of 25 meals will guarantee 24-hour delivery, and a customized message by you for the hospital.
A power meal includes a 6 oz. pan-seared Julienne boneless chicken breast topped with blueberry balsamic glaze served with an ancient grain blend and roasted vegetables. It also includes a mini chocolate treat and 8 oz. water bottle. It is Gluten-Free and available as vegan with tofu instead of chicken.
West Chester’s Slow Hand has transitioned from a trendy, vintage-inspired restaurant into a zero-contact grocery service to help area shoppers avoid long lines and stay safe. There’s an emphasis on borough favorites, including Gemelli Gelato, Gryphon Coffee Co., Yori’s Bakery, Green Meadow Farm and Lancaster Farm Fresh.
“These are our friends and neighbors and we think they need the business more than companies like Nabisco, Folgers and Perdue,” says Slow Hand’s chef and owner Craig Russel. “Now more than ever we have to support our small local businesses and farmers.”
Customers place orders online one hour in advance. Upon arrival at the restaurant, an employee places the order in the customer’s car, minimizing risk for both parties. We’d say that’s a win-win.
With an increasing number of hospitals overwhelmed by patients suffering from COVID-19, there’s been a national shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals on the frontline. To combat the shortages, several area businesses and volunteer groups are rallying.
Phoenixville resident Manny DeMutis organized his contracting company, The DeMutis Group, along with other local construction and property management businesses, to gather and donate the effective N95 masks, which are going to Phoenixville Hospital.
Other businesses have begun to make the products themselves. The owner of Slay Displays, a King of Prussia-based event design and decor company, is using her fabrication skills to make face shields for hospital workers.
Specialized skills aren’t necessary for those who want to contribute. Local groups like Sew for PA and CoverAid PHL have organized at-home sewers to make alternatives to N95 masks. These groups facilitate material donations, mask production and delivery to healthcare organizations in need. They also provide patterns, fabric recommendations and advice for volunteers.
With the closing of local school districts, many families, especially those who rely on the free and reduced-cost lunches for their children, have found themselves dealing with food insecurity. John Serock Catering is stepping in to help West Chester Area School District’s food-insecure families through its WC Cares program. For every purchase of a Serock family meal, which includes lasagna, a family-sized salad and a loaf of bread, the caterer will donate the same meal to a local family in need.
The president of the Pennsylvania Distillers’ Guild and owner of Philadelphia’s New Liberty Distillery, Robert Cassel, is bringing the state’s distilleries together to produce hand sanitizer. Lansdale’s Boardroom Spirits and Phoenixville’s Bluebird Distilling are among the local companies that have pivoted to hand sanitizer production. Currently, both are selling their product to healthcare facilities at a reduced cost.
“This decision was easy—we’re not selling the hand sanitizer for economic profit, we’re just looking to cover the costs of making it so we can support our community,” says Bluebird’s founder Jared Adkins. “We’re proud to be supporting our medical professionals and those in the front lines during this time of crisis.”