DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (CBS) — The hunger to help those on the front lines of fighting COVID-19 grows every day.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves found two women who used their personal motivation to bring happiness through food.
Inside the walls of hospitals is heroic work in the fight against COVID-19 that we rarely see. But Erin Zerth and Erin Guth are both well aware – their husbands are emergency physicians.
“We’re scared. There are tears,” Zerth said. “We were feeling as having loved ones on the front line a little bit anxious.”
Both wives asked how they could help from their Downers Grove homes.
“They basically said, ‘The way to our hearts is through our stomach,’ and we couldn’t imagine that the rest of our team wouldn’t feel the same,” Guth said.
A hunger to help sprouted an idea.
“We knew we couldn’t make meals on our own, so we set up meal trains,” Guth said.
Thus were born the COVID-19 Front Line Hero Meal Trains.
The online system sets up times for meals to be delivered to hospitals. Strict rules on delivery and packaging made the two enlist help from local restaurants.
Donors give money, which helps those shops pump out orders and feed first responders on the front lines.
“It sort of grew, well it really did grow,” Guth said. “People got word of it and it sort of inspired them to do their own.”
And through Facebook, the wives said about 7,000 coordinated meals turned into 500,000. They say that translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into local businesses.
“We’re taking meals daily,” said Junior Pinal.
Pinal used the newly-formed meal train group to make sure his bakery in La Grange was in the mix to help.
“Right now, you can see business is kind of slow, but it keeps our employees employed,” Pinal said.
The wives have only been at it for about two weeks.
“It just blows me away at how amazing Chicago is and how big Chicago can do things,” Zerth said
The big impact has now turned sad tears into ones of happiness.