Residents Help Restaurants, Medical Staff with Meal Donations

Proviso Mental Health Commission Urges Community Support

The Proviso Township Mental Health Commission (PTMHC) in coordination with the Village of Melrose Park, has set up a GoFundMe page to purchase meals from local restaurants that will then be donated to staff at local hospitals on the front lines of the COVID -19 outbreak.
“This is a win-win-win for local restaurants, medical workers, and residents who want to give back to workers affected by the pandemic,” said Melrose Park Trustee and former PTMHC board member Arturo Mota. “People are under stress and have anxiety because of this virus and it’s great to see the Mental Health Commission partner with us to reduce this stress on the community.”
The PTMHC has purchased $500 worth of meals through local business Aracely’s Bakery in LaGrange after Mota saw that the bakery was making and delivering meals on their own and asked for local support. With the financial pressure restaurants are experiencing along with the mental strain of workers at hospitals, the commission felt that it was appropriate to lend a hand.

“This local business, which is already taking a financial hit from the virus, has been donating meals to hospitals including Gottlieb, MacNeal, UIC Hospital, Advocate Christ, Loyola, and Lurie Children’s Hospital,” said PTMHC Board President Mike Corrigan. “We are asking residents to also step up and buy some meals for these people who are working exhaustive hours and putting themselves at risk responding to this pandemic.”

Aracely’s Bakery made its first meal delivery on Saturday, March 21 to McNeal Hospital as a show of support and solidarity with workers there. Aracely’s bakery is a family owned business that operates five bakeries in the near west suburbs. The LaGrange location is run by Junior Pinal and his wife Araceli Rincon. Rincon’s sister is a nurse practitioner and the idea for providing meals came about after the family talked about the impact of the pandemic on health care workers.

Pinal estimates that he has delivered as many as 500 meals to ten hospitals from Saturday to Wednesday.

“We want these workers to know that we are supporting them and stand behind them,” said Pinal. “Some of the health care workers that I’ve spoken with feel like they’ve been forgotten since we are under the shelter in place order. These meals are a small token of our appreciation but they mean a lot.”

Pinal said that $10 provides one meal which includes a sandwich, chips, cookies, and a soft drink. Since healthcare employees are working round the clock, he said that they also include tamales, muffins, and other bread.

Individuals wishing to purchase meals for hospital workers should go to the GoFundMe page.

Funds will be used to buy meals from local restaurants which will then be donated to area first responders working to quell the COVID-19 pandemic.

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