Doctors, nurses eat free meals from local restaurants thanks to new fundraising movement

Healthcare workers eating well thanks to BR Answer the Call

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Healthcare professionals at a number of Baton Rouge area hospitals will eat a free meal this week thanks to a new fundraising movement that also benefits local restaurants.

Shannon Hultberg and Kathryn Rothkamm started the BR Answer the Call GoFundMe page, which has since blossomed into a non-profit organization recognized by Louisiana’s Secretary of State. Donations are used to provide doctors and nurses with hot meals from local restaurants that are surviving on bulk orders while the governor’s stay-at-home order is in effect.

How can we help struggling local restaurants while also helping those fighting COVID-19 on the frontline? You can donate to BR Answer the Call! With YOUR help, we can make a difference!
How can we help struggling local restaurants while also helping those fighting COVID-19 on the frontline? You can donate to BR Answer the Call! With YOUR help, we can make a difference! (Source: Facebook)

“These men and women are sacrificing time at home with their families, putting themselves on the line with such sick patients,” Hultberg said. "We wanted to give back and show our love and support, even if it’s in a small way, and provide a hot meal.”

The group delivered 150 meals to workers at two Baton Rouge General campuses Monday, April 6. They will drop food off at other local hospitals each day this week.

“It’s raising morale for our troops here on the front lines,” Baton Rouge General Foundation President Erik Showalter said. "Keeping them fed, letting them know that the community cares and they’re here watching what they do and that they support their efforts every single day here at the hospital.”

Rothkamm says it usually costs around $10 to feed a single healthcare worker. The group is hoping to land more donations, especially commercial donations, to continue its service after this week.

Front line workers at Baton Rouge General ate po’boys from Rocco’s and sandwiches from Roly-Poly Tuesday, April 7.

“It’s really slim pickings right now trying to get those people in the doors of the restaurants,” Rocco Moreau said. "[But] this is much greater than us just making income. It’s taking care of the people that ultimately could be taking care of your family members, my family members, or even myself.”

“We just want to stay afloat at this point and keep jobs, and in turn be able to provide such a good service," Tara Aucoin of Roly-Poly said. "The appreciation has been overwhelming.”

Because BR Answer the Call is a non-profit organization, donations are tax deductible.

“We just wanted to give people the added confidence to know all of your money is making a difference in the Baton Rouge community,” Hultberg said.

Note: WAFB makes no representations or warranties of any kind about the authenticity, accuracy, or reliability of any GoFundMe campaign. Any donations you make to such campaigns are strictly at your own risk. If you have any questions related to the authenticity, accuracy, or reliability of a GoFundMe campaign, please contact GoFundMe directly or consult the GoFundMe Guarantee Policy.

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