Out in Roswell Park’s front circle, Kim Sweeney and Chris Dibble are helping unload stacks of pizza boxes from a delivery van. The sheet pizzas are a donation providing lunch for Roswell Park’s frontline workers. The Executive Director of the Medical Concierge Office and Director of Nutrition and Food Services, respectively, Kim and Chris have been spending a lot of the COVID-19 pandemic helping manage donations like this to Roswell Park’s frontline workers. And they’re amazed by the outpouring of support that pulls up to our front doors each day.
“During this challenging time, the Buffalo community has proved to really be the City of Good Neighbors, and the outreach has just been amazing,” says Chris. “The people I have had the opportunity to meet from the community while coordinating and accepting the deliveries have been the kindest, sweetest people.”
Pizza, wraps, pasta, salad, nachos, coffee, cookies, smoothies, chocolates: If you can eat it, it’s probably been donated to Roswell Park this April or May. Every day, local restaurants, companies and individuals reach out like this to show just how much they appreciate all the hard work Roswell Park’s frontline health care workers are putting in during the pandemic, both at the hospital downtown and at the Amherst Center. Some are longtime partners in giving; some are donating for the first time.
“It is so unbelievable to see the outpouring of love from the Buffalo community,” Kim says. “It is such a pleasure being able to work at Roswell and being able to show up with amazing meals for our frontline staff. So many people are being touched by this generosity, and the smiles and positive feelings are contagious.”
Not only do these donations give an amazing boost to the spirits of Roswell Park staff, but they also help keep these local restaurants going when they can’t serve customers the usual way.
It’s impossible to quantify the full impact these donations have made on the Roswell Park community, but so far, Roswell Park has received:
- Over 1,170 pizzas.
- More than 650 cups of coffee.
- Close to 225 Easter plants.
- Over 1,000 frozen dinners.
- Upwards of 5,000 individual meals.
- More than 34,000 pieces of PPE.
- And countless ice cream cakes, cheesecakes, candy bars and chocolates.
“Working with members of the WNY business and restaurant community who are not only stepping up in a very big way to support our frontline workers, but who are looking for ways to support our WNY restaurants, has been so heartwarming,” says Jennifer Hickok, Director of Corporate Partnerships and Board Relations for the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, which manages all donations to Roswell Park. Jennifer is coordinating the impromptu donation program. “It’s one of the best things about being a Buffalonian: We step up and step in when times are tough to hold each other up.”