Kindness During Crisis

Feeding The Frontline: Sandwich Shop Goes Out Of Its Way To Help Hospital Workers

Family owned chain vows to make a difference in their local communities during the pandemic.

As our country battles the coronavirus, we're constantly hearing about the sacrifices that front line workers like doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are making. We've reported on how people are showing their gratitude: from hospital drive-by salutes, to people with signs, cheering in medical center parking lots.

And while these actions certainly boost spirits, you can't "eat" a sign or a salute.

Family-owned sub shop chain has donated thousands of boxed lunches to frontline workers.

That's why a locally-owned sub shop chain in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania decided to deliver on what they do best. Over the past week, DiBella's Subs has provided 2,400 boxed lunches for workers at eight University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hospitals in the Pittsburgh area, including UPMC Passavant in the city's North Hills:

DiBella's has been quietly trying to make sure frontline workers get a respite from their work that a comfort food lunch can bring. Their stores have donated thousands of boxed lunches not only to UPMC but to the city's other major hospital chain, Allegheny Health Network, to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and even a homeless shelter.

They've also encouraged paying take-out customers to "pay it forward" when they can, by buying meals for someone else. The added bonus of all that? Many of DiBella's employees are able to remain on the job.

UPMC Passavant Hospital has been overwhelmed by donations, from food to handmade masks and other items.

"I cannot be any more proud to work for a company that's looking out for their communties," said Tammy Opat, DiBella's catering sales manager. "Where some companies might say we need to hold on to every penny coming in they're saying let's give back."

The appreciation shown to frontline workers and all of the community support they've received can't be measured, said UPMC Passavant's Aaron Drop. "The generosity that we've seen, everything from individuals calling to donate hand sewn masks, to local businesses donating hundreds of meals. It's just so overwhelming. I didn't expect this. We can't appreciate it any more."

How can you start something good?

If you'd like to help DiBella's provide meals for essential workers in Ohio and Pennsylvania, you can purchase a discounted sub tray Click here to "pay forward" individual boxed lunches where the company is matching all donated lunches one-for-one.

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