KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Chuck Rudnick got a phone call last weekend from a friend in the restaurant industry, encouraging him to participate in the Feed The Fight movement, he said.
“She just said 'you need to get on board with this program,'” Rudnick recalled of his conversation with one of the owners of Mangia Mangia. “So we happened to be the first catering this morning to take to Bronson. But, what a great program.”
Rudnick, who owns Maggie’s Cafe and Catering on Stadium Drive, boxed up 65 meals of barbecue chicken, mac-n-cheese and fresh green beans Monday afternoon and drove them to Bronson Hospital as the Feed the Fight movement began in the area.
“Feed the Fight Kalamazoo is a 100 percent volunteer organization. What we do is we accept tax-deductible donations from the public,” said co-organizer Sally Hadden during a phone interview. “We use all of the money to purchase meals from local restaurants and then those meals are delivered by volunteer drivers to healthcare workers and first responders.”
Hadden brought the movement to Kalamazoo alongside Jodi Michaels and Adam Strong-Morse, she said. Within it’s first week, they were receiving donations and donors talked about offering them matching grants.
In the first 10 days, over $2,000 was raised, she said.
“Big and small we have people giving in all sorts of sizes,” Hadden said. “I’ve been watching $10 donations come in all day. And, it’s really heartening.”
It’s also bringing her joy, she said.
Over a week ago, Hadden was feeling ‘helpless, isolated and depressed,’ she said. Her health prevented her from going outside.
However when she came across the movement, which started in Washington D.C. — and spurred similar movements in Boston, Mass., Philadelphia, Penn. and Raleigh, N.C. — she decided to establish a branch in Kalamazoo.
“It supports Kalamazoo local restaurants financially and it lets healthcare people and emergency responders in our community know that we’re behind them,” Hadden said. “We applaud their courage.”
He said he’s happy to be apart of the movement. It gives Maggie’s Cafe some exposure while helping healthcare workers on the front line.
“It seems like they’re the ones under the most stress,” Rudnick said. “They see the most. They see the real numbers. We only see what’s on the graph and what you guys report but they’re there. So, anything you can do to help ‘em, absolutely.”
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