Pasco initiative continues feeding hospital ‘front liners’

Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey and state Rep. Ardian Zika prepare to deliver 106 meals to members of the staff of Medical Center at Trinity as part of the FLAG2020-Pasco initiative.

TRINITY — A drop-off at the entrance to an emergency room of any hospital typically sends the medical staff inside into a quick succession of protocols, learned and perfected through the years, with the goal of helping to heal the sick and save the dying.

But for the staff at Medical Center of Trinity, that moment that normally brings on stress and pressure had a much different tone.

The “gurney” was wheeled in by a county commissioner and a state representative, and the “patient” the medical staff was going to work on were the meals sent to honor them and the heroic stance they have taken since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Commissioner Kathryn Starkey began the Pasco County branch of Front Line Appreciation Group, a nationwide movement that was formed to help feed hard-pressed hospital staff while also giving business to local restaurants that are likely suffering setbacks.

“We started in April, and we’ve already delivered nearly 400 meals to date,” Starkey said. “This charitable initiative is innovative and smart; we’re covering meal costs for our diligent health care workers while also funding local restaurants. It’s a win-win situation!”

The May 7 visit to Trinity, which included a delivery of 106 meals, was joined by state Rep. Ardian Zika, who raised the money for the ER, ICU and PCU teams.

“This is an important initiative in our community. I am grateful to be able to support and help this great cause,” Zika said. “I’m very proud of our health care community. United, we become an unstoppable force for greatness. It’s amazing to see this community come together like it has.”

It is an outreach of support and appreciation that has not gone unnoticed by those who have found themselves going an extra mile in both risk and time carrying out their medical responsibilities.

“My EVS team were all very appreciative and thought it was a great idea supporting the hospital staff and the local restaurants and the same time,” said Joe Gallagher, director of environmental services at Medical Center of Trinity.

Those looking to donate to the Pasco branch of FLAG2020 can do so through Venmo (@FLAG2020Pasco) and PayPal (PayPal.me/FLAG2020Pasco).