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800 meals delivered to frontline workers at Helen-DeVos Children’s Hospital

With hospitals nationwide dealing with an influx of sick children partly due to RSV, a local restauranteur is dropping off hundreds of meals for frontline worker.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Hundreds of meals were delivered to frontline workers at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving.

The massive delivery was made by their hospital’s foundation and catered by Amore Trattoria Italiana, a local restaurant that’s approaching 13 years of business in Grand Rapids.

“They're very overworked,” said Amore owner Jenna Arcidiacono, also known as 'Chef Jenna.' 

“Sometimes they haven't had a homecooked meal in a very long time. They're doing very long shifts. So, it feels so good for someone to take the time to cook for you. And just tell you, ‘Hey, I love you.’"

Fittingly, the always-pink Arcidiacono also manages the nonprofit “Food Hugs,” that makes a point to feed frontline workers, among other groups.

“It's kind of my love language. It always has been, always will be,” she said. “Just to do it on a big scale like this is really great knowing that the nurses, doctors, techs are all kind of getting a little ‘hug’ today – with food.”

Alongside Arcidiacono, volunteers filled up their cars with numerous Styrofoam boxes of assorted Italian pastas and varying sauces for the deliveries.

Kelly Dyer, president of Corewell Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundations, said the decision to purchase the meals from Amore came after their board of trustees came together with a special plan.

“[They] wanted to do something special for all the team members in the Children's Hospital,” Dyer said. “They've been working so hard with the surge with respiratory viruses and RSV. And so having Jenna and the team and Amore help us with meals for all of our team members, sort of a pre-Thanksgiving meal – I'm just so grateful that we can do this for them.”

Arcidiacono will be doing her final dropoff at 8 p.m. Wednesday.


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