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Monday, April 20, 2020



Taking the worry out of what’s for lunch

Working as many as three straight 12- hour shifts, registered nurse Brandy Corbett focuses on one thing: providing care for patients in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Willis-Knighton North.

Adding to her stress is that some of her patients have COVID-19.

Therefore, the last thing Corbett has the time – or desire – to consider is what’s for lunch.

That’s why Corbett is among many health-care workers thankful for the efforts of a group called 318Eats. The group collects money, buys meals from local restaurants, and has them delivered to various hospitals and medical facilities.

“It’s incredible,” said Corbett, who has enjoyed several of the meals. “The ability to not have to think about what I’m going to eat for lunch is awesome. On my days off, I don’t have to go out of my way to think about what I’m going to eat for the next two days at work or have to worry about going to the cafeteria and hoping they’re going to have something somewhat decent to eat. It’s much appreciated.”

was started by Kathryn Smitherman. The mother of a child who was born with an incurable brain disease, Smitherman knows the importance of healthcare workers – and the risks many are taking.

“They are literally our front line right now in the fight against this virus,” Smitherman said. “Their profession is calling them to work 12- to 14-hour shifts under enormously stressful conditions. Given necessary safety guidelines, they are not allowed to leave to get food during these shifts – even if they had time to leave.”

Zimmerman took to Facebook to share her idea of feeding health-care workers. Zimmerman soon found she was not alone in wanting to help. So many people expressed interest, Zimmerman set up Venmo and PayPal accounts for people to send money. That money is then used to buy meals.

Friends Kathy Ross, Amy O’Callaghan and Mona Conrad volunteer their time. Ross coordinates with restaurants, while O’Callaghan and Conrad coordinate with health-care facilities.

In less than a month, 318Eats raised $30,000 and served 1,300 meals.

“I had no idea how much our community cared about nurses,” Corbett said. “They’re (people who bought meals) great people. They don’t even know who we are, and they’re going out of their way to make sure we’re taken care of. We really appreciate it.”

Corbett and her colleagues aren’t the only ones who are appreciative. Restaurant owners are thankful for the business. Sales have dropped significantly since they can only offer take-out and delivery.

“It’s the community helping out two groups,” said Natalie Brucia of Giuseppe’s PastaCaffe. “It keeps our staff working, and then we deliver meals to those working on the front lines.”

Brucia says her restaurant has provided close to 100 meals through the 318Eats program.

“It was exciting for our staff to box the meals up,” Brucia said. “We have to Saran wrap every container. There’s a little bit extra care that has to go into dropping it off at a hospital. The staff was excited to do it – excited to help out and package up all the meals, knowing they were going to such a great place.”

Recently, through 318Eats, El Cabo Verde delivered 50 meals to hospital workers on the nightshift.

“When they arrived, three to four nurses were trying to get dinner from a defunct vending machine. The owners of El Cabo Verde told us the nurses were elated, and it was clear El Cabo Verde really enjoyed bringing smiles to their faces.”

If you would like to donate money to help pay for meals to health-care workers, you may go to Facebook and search 318Eats.


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