CHICAGO (CBS) — Calling the city’s first responders “a torchlight throughout this crisis,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday thanked more than 100 individuals, schools, churches, restaurants, and non-profits who have donated meals, snacks, cleaning supplies, and protective gear to the men and women on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are all in this together. Today we come to you with concrete examples of what it looks like when the city responds to a crisis in unison,” she said.
Lightfoot also again extended her condolences to the family of CPD Officer Marco DiFranco, who died early Thursday from COVID-19.
“I want to thank him for his selfless service, and for giving everything to this city,” she said. “We owe Officer DiFranco and his entire family a debt of gratitude forever.”
DiFranco’s death is being considered to have occurred in the line of duty, meaning his family will receive various forms of financial support, including pension, life insurance, and other benefits.
“They will be taken care of, they will continue to be a part of the CPD family,” Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck said.
Despite the death of an officer from the virus, Lightfoot Beck said they are confident the department is taking the proper steps to protect officers from the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The mayor and I both dreaded the day that that would come,” Beck said of DiFranco’s death. “But we knew that, because of the bravery of the men and women that work for the Chicago Police Department, and the danger that our first responders place themselves in that it might occur. So we dreaded for it, but we prepared for it, and we prepared not only adequately for it, we prepared as well as anybody has done.”
Lightfoot and Beck said among the donations the department has received to help officers during the pandemic; Koval Distillery – which has switched gears from making gin and vodka to making hand sanitizer – supplied 110 gallons of hand sanitizer for officers, 18th Street Brewery in Hammond delivered cleaning solutions, and Girl Scouts flooded districts with boxes of cookies.
“The city’s beleaguered restaurants have also been facing their own set of challenges at this time, but this didn’t stop restaurants like Triple Crown, Temple Fuel, Jerk 48, and many others from taking time out of their day to prepare and donate meals to our officers,” Beck said.
Lightfoot also thanked Magid Glove and Supply, which has donated an extensive supply of personal protective equipment; including more than 2,000 N95 masks and 12,000 protective gear kits, 20,000 bottles hand sanitizer, 101,000 surgical masks, and 76,000 gloves.
“There are many, many examples across our city of this kind of resiliency and support,” the mayor said.
Magid vice president Mike Strama, said the company on Friday donated another 1,200 N95 masks, 500 goggles, and 10,000 gloves to the department
“This is a collective effort. Magid is committed to doing our part,” he said.
Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th), whose ward is home to a large population of police officers and firefighters, also teamed up with the Original Pancake House in Beverly to organize a GoFundMe campaign that raised nearly $50,000 for packaged meals from local restaurants for first responders and healthcare workers.
The alderman said volunteers have delivered those meals to Advocate Christ Medical Center, OSF Little Company of Mary Hospital, and several police and fire stations on the South Side.
“Because of the tremendous outpouring of support, we’re now branching out across the city to support as many first responders as we can with hot meals,” he said.