PLYMOUTH, MA — Joshua Smith said he thought it might be a nice time to do something a little extra for those who have been tirelessly doing all they can to help those suffering from the new coronavirus. It was the beginning of the third week of daily food deliveries from Chef Smith and Alltown Fresh to staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Plymouth with the weather adding another dose of dreariness to the month-long health emergency.
So Smith decided to grab some flowers to bring along with the meals.
"That was (on Monday) when it was all rainy and gross, so we thought some flowers might warm up their day a little bit," Smith determined.
The meals program is part of Alltown Fresh's One for One Program where the fresh convenience market on Long Pond Road makes one meal for a hospital worker at Beth Israel Deaconess for every one sandwich sold in the store. Alltown Fresh is also doing the meals program at its locations in Ayer, Waterbury, CT and New Haven, CT.
Smith said the Plymouth location was given a chance to find its own beneficiary and decided on the workers at Beth Israel Deaconess.
"It's been amazing," Smith said. "Not only are we grateful to be able to giving meals to our essential workers, but this also gives my team a chance to come together and give back at a time when our sales are slower. ... We are very fortunate to be able to provide this to them and give back when we can."
Smith said Alltown Fresh delivers 30 to 40 meals a day to Plymouth — and has leeway to deliver additional meals, if necessary, even if it's a time when in-store sales are slower — and added three times a week deliveries are made to Boston Children’s Hospital with breakfast items for the overnight shift and start of the morning shift.
"I really can't tell you how grateful we all are to be thought of outside of these walls," Karen Giorgianni, ER Manager at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, said. "The food donations are extraordinarily uplifting, as we all seem to be eating our feelings during this time. I am beyond thankful for your efforts to nourish our bodies and souls."
Smith said there is a domino effect to the program's benefits.
"It helps in a few different ways," he said. "We are able to turn our product over, so that not only helps us do some good work, but it helps the distributors keep moving products. Then our food is all locally sourced from area farms, so that helps them keep too. This has given us the flexibility to plan a daily menu based on what is available to us and then find creative ways to add value to that."
Smith said he meets hospital representatives outside to deliver the food each day and that, as trained chefs, precautions when it comes to hand washing, use of gloves and other sanitary precautions are second nature.
Deliveries began on April 3 with the program designed to go for as long as necessary during the pandemic crisis.
"We cannot adequately thank front line medical teams enough for all of the incredible work they're doing and we will continue to support them with delicious meals and our gratitude in the days ahead," said Eric Slifka, CEO of Global Partners, Alltown Fresh's parent company.
Alltown Fresh is also offering free coffee to first responders in the area during the health emergency and selling family food baskets that will provide a week's worth of produce, protein or home essentials pre-packaged for curbside pickup.
"I'm the first one who will spend hours in a grocery store or farmer's market picking out items," Smith said. "That's not in the repertoire of what people can do right now, but we can do that for you."
(If you have a story of a local business or organization that is looking to lend a hand to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, or lift spirits amid social distancing and isolation, Patch wants to let people in your community know about it. Contact Scott Souza at Scott.Souza@patch.com to help us spread the positives during this uncertain time.)
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