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Detroit’s Food Industry Helps Provide Hospitals and Health Care Workers With Meals and Supplies

Some restaurants and markets are delivering meals as well as gloves and sanitizer to local health care facilities and first responders working on the front lines of the novel coronavirus outbreak

Selective focus and blurry top views surgical mask and white medical gloves.
Restaurants and grocery stores are providing gloves, facemasks, sanitizer, and food to healthcare workers.
Richman Photo/Shutterstock
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

As supplies of safety equipment run low and health care facilities overflow with patients in need of treatment for the novel coronavirus, metro Detroit restaurants and markets are pitching in to help keep food and supplies flowing to health care workers fighting the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, March 31, Michigan had 7,615 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 259 deaths, with the vast majority of cases localized in the metro Detroit area. TCF Center — a major convention center located in downtown Detroit — is currently being converted into a FEMA-funded, 900-bed field hospital to help manage the overflow of patients infected with COVID-19.

With critical equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves in short supply, some area businesses are diverting their inventory to medical personnel at area hospitals. On March 26, Middle Eastern restaurant Saj Cafe & Bakery in Dearborn Heights pitched in by donating sanitizer bottles and 15,000 gloves from its own supplies. Over the past several weeks, Madison Heights-based Asian grocery store 168 Asian Mart delivered thousands of gloves, more than 17,000 masks, gallons of alcohol and sanitizer, as well as food to first-responders including local police and fire departments and hospital staff at Beaumont, Detroit Harper, Detroit Children’s Hospital, Ascension Providence Southfield, and elsewhere.

Local restaurants are also showing their support by doing what they do best: feeding people. Last week, in partnership with gift box company Bundle Michigan, Italian restaurant Bacco Ristorante of Southfield delivered 50 meals to workers at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Likewise, Wahlburgers in Royal Oak offered up in free meals to hospital staff on March 26 at Beaumont, thanks to a donation by Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford and his wife Kelly. Even Grammy Award-winning singer and Detroiter Lizzo chipped in and bought lunch for Henry Ford Hospital workers in Detroit. Meanwhile, Noble Fish and White Wolf Patisserie teamed up to provide 50 meals to Henry Ford Medical Center workers in Troy. D’Vine Cookies in Ferndale even offered up something sweet to Beaumont employees: 300 cookies.

Others, such as Common Pub have established fundraising campaigns to help pay for food deliveries to Detroit health care workers on the frontlines of the epidemic. One campaign by Shield’s Pizza has raised more than $2,500 in donations to feed first responders, with a pledge of donating an additional $125 worth of food for every $100 raised. So far, the chain has made deliveries to the DMC Receiving Hospital emergency staff. Fellow Detroit-style pizza maker, Buddy’s Pizza, is now promoting 50 percent off meals throughout April to health care workers with an ID.

With Detroit now the center of one of the largest outbreaks in the country, hospital workers will likely continue rely on the support of donations.

Local Distilleries Convert to Hand Sanitizer Production as Michigan Faces Shortages [ED]
Some Restaurants Are Channeling Their Hardships Into a Way to Feed Health Care Workers [E]
All Coronavirus Coverage [E]

Noble Fish

45 14 Mile Road, , MI 48017 (248) 585-2314 Visit Website

168 Asian Mart

32393 John R Road, , MI 48071 (248) 616-1689 Visit Website


234 North Garden, , MN 55425 (952) 854-1655 Visit Website

Common Pub

5440 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48202 (313) 285-8849 Visit Website

Buddy's Pizza

3153 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, , MI 48103 (734) 792-9130 Visit Website

White Wolf Patisserie

31 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson, MI 48017 Visit Website

Bacco Ristorante

29410 Northwestern Highway, , MI 48034 (248) 356-6600 Visit Website