Chambersburg organization Community Uniting 'SHaRe' meals with healthcare workers
A Chambersburg organization wanted to show its appreciation for healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That's how the SHaRe program was born.
Teaming up with local restaurants, Community Uniting has come up with an easy way to get others involved in saying "thank you."
The process is pretty simple. Restaurants sign up to feature meals that patrons can purchase for healthcare workers as part of their order. Meals range from $6-8.
Sandy Grotberg, of Community Uniting, said deliveries started on Dec. 23.
"The past few months, especially as the days were getting darker, we really wanted to do something to support health workers," she said. "We had thought, well maybe we could do a candlelight prayer outside the hospital. But they didn't want people outside gathering in any way. Then there was a doctor in my church who said that nurses really appreciate food."
The SHaRe Program, short for "Supporting Healthcare and Restaurants", aligns with the organization's goal of promoting kindness. The group formed four years ago and has a mailing list of nearly 500 people.
"We are just some local people who wanted to have a place to promote bridging differences, building unity and doing positive things in the community," Grotberg said.
Grotberg said it's a great outlet for local do-gooders.
"For me, it's about finding positive things to do," she said. "We've had a number of people say, 'oh we're glad there's something we can do that's positive,' because nobody likes to feel helpless. The other part that's really important is that I've built some friendships personally."
Falafel Shack, the first restaurant to sign up, has had enough donations to offer meals nearly every week.
"Participating in the SHaRe program has provided community members a way to support small businesses while providing meals to frontline healthcare workers," a statement from the restaurant read. "Many community members expressed a desire to help and didn’t know what they could do. Donating to the SHaRe program not only allows them to give a tangible (and delicious gift) to our healthcare workers, it also directly supports a small local restaurant."
So far, a number of restaurants have stepped up to lend a hand with the effort:
- Falafel Shack
- Pat & Carla's
- Montezuma's (Wayne Ave.)
- The Market at Trickling Springs
So far, the group has organized the delivery of over 250 meals to healthcare workers at Chambersburg Wellspan Hospital. And the donations keep coming.
"We're already talking about maybe expanding to like to the urgent cares, other first responders and emergency health services," Grotberg said.
Grotberg also mentioned that suggestions have come up to offer the program to those struggling with food insecurity within the community.
The program seems to be a three-way win.
"Our friends at the hospital have been so appreciative of the treats they have received. Falafel Shack and fellow restaurants who participated in the program have enjoyed the boost in business and the opportunity to help," a statement from the restaurant read. "It is a win-win situation in a time where many feel helpless and eager to support their fellow community members. We are excited about the SHaRe program and hope it grows and branches out to be of help where it is most needed.""
John Massimilla, president WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, said the staff is grateful for the community's kindness.
"This thoughtful gesture of support by our community is so appreciated by our teams, working around the clock to care for others," he said. "We've experienced extreme challenges during this pandemic but continue to feel grateful to be a part of such a wonderful community. Your acts of kindness and generosity have continued to fuel our team members in their fight against COVID-19."
Want to donate a meal? Contact Community Uniting for details at email@example.com or visit its Facebook page for up-to-date order forms.
Carley Bonk is a Watchdog Reporter for the USA Today Network - Pennsylvania. Her coverage spans across the southcentral region of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @carls_marie.