Covid Hits, North Philly Hits Back

2 years ago, North10 Philadelphia hosted a disaster/emergency prep workshop at The Lenfest Center in North Philadelphia. Almost feels serendipitous that they are here on the front lines of a real life pandemic right out of the movies.

With the help of Called to Serve CDC’s executive director, Jeff Harley, North 10’s Josh Klaris and Temple University hospital worked to coordinate 100 (soon to be 150)  weekly meals from three nearby restaurants for the Emergency Department personnel assisting in the response to this situation.

The idea was born from a conversation about the effects of the Covid-19 shutdowns were having on the city’s restaurant industry and the overall preparedness of the health systems to handle what is about to come. One of the participants in the talk had heard of efforts by the board at another area hospital to provide the overworked health care workers with nourishments from nearby food establishments.

Those neighborhood restaurants, Pho Don, Caribbean Feast, and CityView Pizza and Grille (Temple Hospital location), are experiencing what many are: a financial regression. Efforts such as these are helping to ease some of the burden, but with restaurants reporting a reduction of revenue upwards of 75%, the need for more paying customers is dire. The longer the lockdown continues, the more precarious it will be to keep the doors open. Or as Howard Foreman of Caribbean Feast put it, “Without an end in sight, it’s scary at this point. It’s looking grim.” Like numerous small business owners, he is balancing the need to safeguard himself against financial ruin with making sure his staff continues to get paid because “they deserve to feed their families”.

North 10 is going to continue dedicating resources to this effort for the foreseeable future. This along with on-going coordinated efforts of the hospital, Called to Serve, and other community organizations will go a long way to ensuring that those in need will get the best care possible.

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