If you are looking for ways to support local restaurants and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider donating to the Feed A Healthcare Hero! program. Created by Michael Saunders realtor Brian Loebker, the program takes donations from the public to order meals from local restaurants, which are then delivered to healthcare workers at local hospitals. Not only are you supporting local businesses and employees struggling to stay afloat, you're also saying thank you to the hospitals keeping Sarasota-Manatee safe and healthy.
"We have more than 85 local restaurants involved," says Loebker. "Real estate agents are still considered essential workers, but we have a lot more time on our hands now." So realtors have volunteered their time to pick up and deliver meals to the hospitals, and have witnessed huge displays of gratitude since the program began.
"Word has spread so fast, and restaurants have been so thankful we are thinking about them," says Loebker. A donation of $25 dollars equals one meal, and for every 10 donations received, an order at a local restaurant will be placed. One hundred percent of the proceeds go toward the restaurant and its employees. Realtors serve as "runners," delivering the meals to a rotating list of hospitals, which includes Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and more.
"Healthcare workers have been reaching out to us, telling us about their units and asking for help," says Loebker. "The feedback from workers has been amazing."
The program has raised more than $25,000 from 250 donors, which guarantees the purchase of 1,000 individual meals. Loebker says this was a huge milestone for the program, and a factor in turning it into a movement. Real estate agencies from other states have reached out on social media, inquiring about how to start their own Feed A Healthcare Hero! program. The National Realtors' Association has also reached out to Loebker to learn more.
Loebker has found that suffering restaurants have especially appreciated the program. A restaurant manager from Venice expressed his gratitude.
"He was so surprised and thankful that someone was thinking about them."