WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – What started as a simple way to give back has grown into a state-wide effort.
“I thought it was a one time deal, thank you for saving my mom’s life, you know, but so many, just the response has just been crazy,” said Amy Scharosch.
The craziness began in November of 2020. That’s when Scharosch, a Wichita native now residing in the Kansas City area, said her mother and father contracted COVID-19.
“My parents got very sick with COVID, and my mom was hospitalized,” she explained.
Feeling helpless, Scharosch was determined to aid in her parents’ recovery in any way she could. That’s when she came up with the idea to help the helpers.
“Let’s just send a meal to your whole entire floor just to say thank you,” Scharosch said.
Within a few days, Scharosch had pulled together enough donations to send food to all of the Ascension Via Christi St. Francis staff members who cared for her mother. The news quickly spread.
“When she posted online what she had done as far as thanking the nurses, I immediately reached out to her and I was like, ‘hey, I have lots of contacts at Wesley and at other hospitals around the area and I would love to get in on this if this is something you would like to continue doing,'” said Amber Tracy.
Tracy and Scharosch then teamed up and created the gofundme, Feed the Healthcare Heroes. Within days, the pair was serving meals to frontline workers across Kansas.
“We have been in Wichita, Overland Park, and Newton. Let’s see, Council Grove! Somebody needed some love in Council Grove, so we gave it to them!” said Scharosch.
Wesley Radiologist Taylor Lankford was one of the meal recipients.
“They were absolute blessings to us that day because we were super busy and having lunch delivered to us was really a cool thing,” said Lankford. “For someone to reach out and want to include us in the group of people like nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, it was really nice.”
Lankford is not the only recipient who is grateful. Tracy and Scharosch said they have received numerous photos and thank you cards from people they have fed.
“They keep telling us “thank you” and we are like, ‘no, all the thanks goes to you. You are the ones doing this. You are the one saving families and saving lives and putting your life at risk to do these things,'” said Tracy.
The pair told KSN they plan to feed even more healthcare workers in 2021.
“People are really generous around the holidays, but in January it always tends to drop off, so when it does we will be there even if it’s just a little bit,” Scharosch said.
“Even just a little granola bar, to somebody, that may not mean anything, but to them, I think it allows them to know that hey, we love you, we support you, we appreciate what you are doing and it’s not going unnoticed even if you think it is,” Tracy said.
The women plan to start feeding environmental service staff next.
They said it’s also important to note they buy all of their donated meals from local restaurants to keep the money flowing in Kansas communities.