MINT HILL, NC – As COVID-19 continues to spread across North Carolina, restaurants, businesses, groups and individuals have reached out to Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center in countless ways to thank our healthcare heroes working on the front lines.
One such restaurant is Chick-fil-A on Albemarle Road, who provided lunch for all of Novant’s staff on April 18 and April 22, days they thoughtfully chose to reach both weekday and weekend staff. “We just wanted to support the healthcare workers in our community, and feeding them is how we could do that,” says Chick-fil-A Albemarle Road Marketing Director Denise Boston.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Kiki and Dino Kalevas, owners of D’Anna’s Kitchen. Residents of the Matthews-Mint Hill area, the pair passes Novant’s Mint Hill facility every day on the way to their restaurant in Midland. The “country cooking” restaurant named after the couple’s twin daughters served Greek salad, grilled chicken pitas, and buffalo chicken wraps to sixty of Novant’s workers on May 7.
“We just wanted to thank them for their hard work and effort,” says Dino. “We’ve been blessed with a lot of great things, so we just wanted to give back.”
Novant’s ER staff was a recent recipient of lunch from Wayback Burger, who is surprising a different group of frontline workers with lunch every Tuesday during the pandemic. Other recipients have included Mint Hill Fire Department, Mint Hill Police Department, Novant Health GoHealth Urgent Care Mint Hill, and Mint Hill Pharmacy.
“We believe that being involved in the community and helping others is the only way to live,” says Owner Anna White. “We help the community as much as we can, one Tuesday after another. Seeing smiles on the frontline workers’ faces is more than we can ask for. It’s all about supporting each other in these difficult times.”
As COVID-19 began to spread, Showmars Mint Hill General Manager Tommy Racano began throwing around ideas of how Showmars could support those who work in healthcare. They landed on the idea of asking customers to add $5 to their check to feed frontline workers. At the end of each night, Showmars tallies up the donations and turns it into a gift card; at the end of the week, they deliver those gift cards to nurses and doctors in the area. In addition to Novant Mint Hill, Showmars has donated gift cards to hospitals in Monroe and Matthews.
Although Racano organized the effort, he feels that credit truly goes to the many customers who have made donations. “We’re really just a vessel for the community to show their support,” says Racano. “Those doctors and nurses on the frontline, fighting that fight – we just want to do whatever we can to say thank you and show the support the community has for them.
The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating to many restaurants who have seen their profits plummet as they pivot to a take-out and delivery only model of business. Seeing the impact COVID-19 has had on local restaurants and wanting to find a way to thank frontline workers, eager do-gooders happened upon a clever idea: they could give their favorite restaurants a boost and show their support for healthcare workers by purchasing meals to donate.
The epitome of this type of giving is Frontline Foods. Started only six weeks ago, Frontline Foods Charlotte raises funds from the community to buy healthy meals from local, Charlotte-area restaurants and deliver those meals at no cost to healthcare workers and first responders who are putting their own health at risk to help others.
As of May 4, Frontline Foods Charlotte had raised over $5400 locally, which was used to deliver 2530 meals from 18 different local restaurants. To Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center, Frontline Foods Charlotte delivered 160 meals from The Yolk Cafe, 30 vegan meals from Nourish, and 65 meals from The Stanley. Hospital coordinator Lisa Macdonald hopes to be able to continue delivering to Novant Mint Hill once a week for the next three to four weeks.
“If you look at our mission, it really is dual,” says Macdonald. “It’s about supporting our local restaurants and supporting our frontline workers with healthy, nutritious meals. Those workers are under a lot of stress right now,” continues Macdonald. “This is about being part of the community and helping someone who’s having a rough time.”
Frontline Foods Charlotte rallies the community to do this on a large scale, but many businesses and even individuals are reaching out on their own to support local restaurants and frontline workers.
One such business is Wilkinson ERA Real Estate. Using a GoFundMe campaign, Wilkinson’s over 800 real estate agents raised over 10k in the month of April that they utilized to provide over 1000 meals from local restaurants to hospitals throughout North Carolina. Thanks to their efforts, Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center received 50 boxed meals from Midwood Smokehouse.
“We just wanted to be able to give back,” says Vice President Allie Thomas. “Being a local real estate company, we realized that local restaurants really needed help, and we also wanted to support our frontline health care workers. It’s a really great way to support two groups of people.”
For some small businesses, donating is personal. As someone who estimates he’s lost 60-70% of his staff due to COVID-19, Conder Flags Owner Ernie Creech feels it’s important to support other family-owned businesses in the area. He’s currently donating a portion of US flag sales to COVID-related charities, but Creech wanted to make an impact locally where he could know how he was making a difference.
Last week, Conder Flags coordinated with Mint Hill Rock Store BBQ to donate 170 meals to Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center. A resident of Mint Hill most of his life, Creech was happy to be able to support his friends at Rock Store BBQ as well as Novant, for whom his company makes a lot of signage. For Creech, it’s all about giving what support he can in a difficult time. “We’ve all been impacted,” he says. “We’re all in the same boat.” Creech hopes to continue making efforts to support local restaurants and hospital workers, possibly making a similar donation in May.
Some donations may be smaller but no less meaningful to both the restaurants and to Novant. Mint Hill Tool Rental and an anonymous individual donor have both purchased Daphne’s cupcakes to donate to the hospital. Seeing how Mint Hill has supported her small business and one another means everything to owner Janice Efird. “Mint Hill and the surrounding community have supported me, and I have watched them support each other,” says Efird. “That’s the good I see of what’s come of this.”
In addition to large scale donations from restaurants, businesses, and individuals, Novant has received countless donations from individuals in the community looking to make a difference. Community member Ray McCrodden donated 100 mask clips to make mask-wearing more comfortable for medical staff. Matt Steine brought boxes of girl scout cookies. Local farmer Melissa Conden Vanausdoll dropped off eight bottles of her elderberry syrup. Daly Burgess, Fey Grayson and Kim Hall brought handmade cards. Ang Ngo donated over 100 cloth masks, a fraction of the 800 masks she donated to Novant hospitals purchased from her home country of Vietnam.
And of course, not every show of support is a tangible gift. On Tuesday, April 14, First Responders from Mint Hill and surrounding communities honked their horns and shined their lights as they drove around the hospital. On April 6, residents from the neighboring Cresswind community sat in their driveways dressed in Novant purple with signs thanking their healthcare workers as a drone filmed them from above.
“Our Mint Hill Medical Center team has been completely overwhelmed and grateful for this outpouring of support from our community,” says Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center President Joy Greear. “Every donation of cards, masks, food, sweet treats, flowers, and other creative gifts has been a blessing to us, and often they came at just the right time to be uplifting and encouraging to our team members. We are committed to taking care of patients and families, but when you are scared and unsure of this unprecedented virus, it is so easy to be discouraged, distracted, and isolated. Teamwork and these acts of kindness have truly reminded us all of the good in this world, and we could not be more proud to say we are part of the Mint Hill community!”
Thank you to everyone who has donated to Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center!
- Speedway #7974
- Chick-Fil-A Albemarle Road
- Home Depot
- Showmars Mint Hill
- Domino’s Pizza
- Krispy Kreme Donuts – Concord & Matthews
- Mamma’s Pizza & Pasta
- Ray McCrodden
- Melissa Conden Vanausdoll
- Matt Steine
- Wilkinson ERA Real Estate
- Nick Devenuto, Veterans Advocate
- Frontline Foods
- Daly Burgess
- Kenneth Buccholz
- Kay Weisberg
- Fey Grayson
- Kim Hall
- Conder Flags
- Fidelity Investments
- UNC Sorority
- D’Anna’s Kitchen
- Ang Ngo
- Wayback Burger
- Lowe’s Home Improvement