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KC metro restaurants provide weekly meals to frontline workers

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Posted at 7:56 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 23:41:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly 10 months ago, two Kansas City metro restaurants joined forces to feed their neighbors and frontline workers at the University of Kansas Health System.

"The charitable portion of this is really, really great, but it's still all about the relationships, you know?" Vic Allred, owner of Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen, said. "If we can provide a meal for someone that has busted their butt all day long and then maybe they get a good hot meal from Jazz… I mean, you know, it's not much but it's something."

Jazz and d'Bronx Pizzeria have provided meals every week since April, and it's a gesture hospital workers don't take for granted.

"It's just incredible that they've continued to think about us and support us, especially as their businesses are struggling as well, like every restaurant in the city," Jeff Novorr, the hospital's vice president of Support Operations, said.

In the same way a neighbor might bring a meal to someone's doorstep after experiencing grief, owners of these neighboring restaurants said they're simply checking on family.

"We just wanted to continue to serve those who serve us," Allred said, "because heaven forbid you get COVID, that's probably where I'm going to go, you know?"

Lenning Bell, general manager of d'Bronx Pizzeria, agreed, noting that two years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent treatment at KU.

"We're looking at the big picture and as much as we can continue to do this, we will," Bell said. "That's where I went, and I really can't sing their praises enough."

As for the health care workers who are working tireless hours against the novel coronavirus, one less thing to think about and prepare means the world, according to Registered Nurse Taylor Cleary.

"Everyone gets really excited because sometimes it's been really depressing working at a hospital with how busy we are and how patients are right now," Cleary said. "So that one little thing is just really appreciated. It's showing that people outside of the hospital still care about the nurses and what we're doing."

And that's the mission Bell intended.

"I think people really are wanting to be more of a community and help each other and not just [ask], 'What's in it for me?'" Bell said.

During the pandemic, 41 Action News wants to spotlight people, organizations and companies helping the community. To share these stories, use #WeSeeYouKSHB on social media.