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Group Works With Area Restaurants To Make Sure Late-Night Health Care Workers Have A Meal Lifeline

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There have been generous food deliveries to hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

But one group is focusing its effort on those in New York who may not be getting to enjoy the donations -- those who work the late night shift, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported.


"The past six weeks have been so crazy," said Kara Ebanks, a nurse at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson on Long Island.

Being on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic is hard, and Ebanks works the overnight shift, which has its own challenges.

"When we get there, if we don't order food right away, everything closes and we pretty much have to get fast food or we eat whatever's in the vending machine," Ebanks said.

She is missing out on generous food donations, as most are delivered during the day, which New York City resident Andrea DeFrancis said she couldn't accept.

"I love food and I love taking care of people. I reached out to my two friends and we were like we have to do something," DeFrancis said.

MORE'Feed The Frontlines' Movement Goes From A Single Donation To Enough To Prepare 80,000 Meals For Health Care Workers

Together, they cooked up a movement called "Late Night Lifeline," which raises money to deliver meals specifically to late-night health care workers on Long Island and in the city.

"They put aside their fears and anxiety every day to help the patients," DeFrancis said of the after hours health care workers. "And if we can just be their sense of calm through the night and let them know they are appreciated, that is a win right there."

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The hope is it would also help local restaurants at a time tables are empty, restricted to takeout and deliveries.

The group turned to La Famiglia of Smithtown after noticing it already donating food to various front-line workers.

"I never really thought about the night-time workers, so when she approached me about it, I said 100%," La Famiglia general manager Giovanni Divella said. "We did it because we wanted to help, for no other reason. But then the feedback that we got was incredible. We saw that the community in turn tried to support us even more."

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"We've helped eight restaurants so far. We've fed over 1,100 health care workers," DeFrancis said.

Ebanks said she doesn't have enough words to thank all involved.

"We could never say thank you enough," she said.

To all those throwing this lifeline to the late-night health care heroes.

The group has raised $10,000 since early April, but said donations are running dry. If you'd like to donate, please click here.

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