A California state senator, labor groups and a Sacramento food truck business teamed up Friday to feed hungry healthcare workers at UC Davis Medical Center who have at the forefront of the region’s battle against coronavirus.
It was the launch of a new effort called “Feeding the Frontlines,” which will serve a free lunch to different essential workers, such as those working in grocery stores, farms and warehouses on Fridays.
State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said they want to show their appreciation for essential workers who continue to work while being potentially exposed to the coronavirus, which causes the infectious respiratory disease COVID-19.
“This event is about thanking them,” Pan said.
Pan, a pediatrician who chairs the Senate Health Committee, said people need to make sure to stay home as much as possible and not to overwhelm hospitals and health care workers.
“I know there are some people who may be protesting about how they want to go out,” Pan said about Friday’s protest at the state capitol. “We’re here to say we stand in solidarity with the essential workers who need us to do our part to keep them safe.”
Pan said he recognizes that times are tough now with so workers being furloughed and others laid off, while businesses are virtually bringing in no money.
“But at the same time, we have to recognize that if we let this virus spread, people are not going to shop, our economy is even going to be worse,” Pan said “And more importantly, more people are going to get sick and potentially die.”
This effort was done in a partnership with Sacramento Central Labor Council, the Labor Project for Working Families and SactoMoFo.
Fabrizio Sasso, executive director of the Labor Council, said people are now becoming more aware of the importance of workers in this economy, including those at UC Davis Medical Center who have been working against the coronavirus from the beginning.
“They’ve been in the trenches working non-stop to keep us healthy and safe,” Sasso said. “So, we’re here to feed them and to just show our appreciation for all the work they do.”
Sasso said a lot of workers have been overworked and afraid of exposure to coronavirus, and some companies have not provided the appropriate protective gear.
“And then there’s talk about reopening the economy, but workers must have a say on how that economy is reopened,” Sasso said.
He also spoke about the hundreds of people who gathered to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order Friday. Sasso called the protesters “selfish” for creating risks with their demonstration that can ultimately put a stress on the healthcare system and the workers who are afraid of bring the coronavirus home to their families.
“So, we’re asking folks to stay at home to minimize the exposure and risks that workers have when they’re doing their jobs,” Sasso said.
Feeding the Frontlines is asking for tax deductable contributions that will feed essential workers and also support local small businesses and food trucks that have been affected by the shutdown. Donations can be made online at the Labor Council’s website.
“We have had a long relationship with our health care facilities and we are looking forward to showing our love and gratitude through our food,” said Paul Somerhausen, CEO of SactoMoFo.
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