NYIT med students send meals to healthcare workers

A volunteer delivers bagels to St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn as part of the Meals from Med Students program. (Photo courtesy of Meals from Med Students)

Medical students from the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury are working to keep their professional counterparts in hospitals fed during the coronavirus pandemic through a program called Meals from Med Students.

The group organizes donations of meals from local restaurants to area hospitals so that healthcare workers don’t have to go through a shift without food, according to Amanda DeFeo of Port Washington, a second-year student studying for her doctor of osteopathic medicine.

“This whole idea came out of the fact that so many medical students went into this profession because they want to help people,” DeFeo said.

As NYIT and other colleges closed in March while the students continued classes online, DeFeo and her classmates thought up ways to help hospital staffers on the pandemic’s front lines.

“Since so many of us are staying home to stop the spread of this virus, we wanted to find a way to help without violating social distancing,” DeFeo said.

The efforts started in earnest the week of April 6, she said, and only grew from there.

“So far it’s been successful for the amount of time we’ve been doing it,” DeFeo said. “We’ve raised a couple thousand dollars.”

Institutions like St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, Good Samaritan Hospital in Bay Shore and Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow have received donations from businesses in their areas, all facilitated by Meals from Med Students.

The group is also asking for donations from still-operating businesses to buy meals from restaurants that aren’t financially able to donate food and have students deliver them.
Businesses are welcome to sponsor a meal that is then sent to healthcare workers at nearby hospitals. DeFeo’s father, Augie DeFeo, who owns the Port Washington-based Competition Glass, was among the first, sponsoring a breakfast delivery from Boychik’s Bagels, also in Port, for employees at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn.
Groups at NYIT have since formed similar committees to assist professionals with childcare and pet care, as well as gathering personal protective equipment to donate to hospitals. For DeFeo, the effort mirrors what she and her classmates would want should they face a similar crisis someday.
“We want to help other people in the field because someday that’s going to be us,” DeFeo said.
Those interested in volunteering for the program are encouraged to visit their Facebook page for more information or email [email protected] Monetary donations are being accepted through the app Venmo, for the account @MealsFromMedStudents.

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Rose Weldon

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