It was an exceptionally busy Monday at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama – and a particularly stressful time for staff at the hospital, who has been working tirelessly to care for patients affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Leisha Harris, Grandview’s Director of Marketing, wheeled an empty cart through the front doors as a doctor and three nurses followed closely behind, all talking excitedly.
“I heard it’s from SAW’s,” one of them said. “I hope so. I love SAW’s barbecue,” commented another.
They all watched as a black SUV drove up and stopped in front of the hospital. The driver got out and began placing bags of food on the cart. All four pitched in to help, and before long the cart was loaded, with a few bags being carried by hand.
Leisha assembled the group for a quick photo, and then confirmed that the meal was in fact from the popular SAW’s BBQ restaurant. She added that it was donated by RxBenefits, amid cheers from the group as they headed back into the hospital.
This scene was the latest to play out across the state in a series of donations coordinated by RxBenefits.
“We wanted to do what we could to help provide food to the medical workers and support teams on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in Alabama,” said Robert Gamble, President and Chief Financial Officer at RxBenefits. “Our healthcare system and our country have never faced a situation like this.”
Gamble said the company created the donation program in early April as part of its effort to support independent restaurants and healthcare professionals in the communities around its Birmingham headquarters.
“So many small businesses, especially restaurants, are hurting right now,” Gamble said. “We’re using our resources to work with restaurants that are local to our area or that are headquartered in Alabama, to serve some of the hospital workers in our state.”
To date, more than 150 meals have been donated to local hospitals, including Baptist Medical Center in Montgomery, which received meals from Chicken Salad Chick, a restaurant chain based in Auburn, Alabama; Brookwood Baptist Health Hospital in Birmingham, which received meals from Urban Cookhouse, a South Carolina-based chain with seven of its nine locations in Alabama; and Grandview, which received meals from SAW’s BBQ, a local chain with all four of its locations in the Birmingham area. Gamble said the program will continue as long as possible, with additional donations planned in the coming days.