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After ER visit, Helena woman creates meal train to thank COVID frontline workers

Fueling the frontline meal train
Posted at 7:56 AM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 09:56:52-04

HELENA — A Helena woman has started a meal train to thank St. Peter’s Health workers after seeing firsthand how busy and full the hospital is while frontline workers face the current COVID wave.

Laura Smith’s asthma has worsened over the last few weeks, eventually getting to the point where she needed emergency care at the hospital.

“I really saw how hard everyone is working and the amount of time and the toll it takes on [the staff],” she explained. “I had a conversation with one of the doctors just about how difficult it is for them and he was so diplomatic about it, but being in their shoes I can only imagine how difficult it’s been.”

Even though Smith’s ER visit was late at night, she says it was a nonstop situation for staff as they responded to critical patients and new patients that were arriving.

Smith had already been trying to come up with a way of showing that the community supports those workers, but seeing the situation up close really motivated her to create the meal train.

“These are really unprecedented times and they are having hard conversations with families and caring for patients,” said Smith. “I really think food is love and as a community, if we can express that love and appreciation to our medical community through a meal train let’s do it.”

Fueling the Frontlines: St. Peter’s Health Meal Train is completely community-driven. Smith challenges businesses, families and organizations to help show their support by signing up for a meal.

Due to hospital guidelines, they can only accept meals from a restaurant or catering service and ask that they are individually wrapped portions. Individually wrapped portions help immensely for getting food to workers who need to eat on the fly and helps limit potential COVID exposure. More information about how to give a meal can be found here.

St. Peter’s says they’re thankful for the community support which has been huge in keeping staff going.

Both Smith and St. Peter’s strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to do so to help people not end up in the hospital. People concerned about the vaccine should speak with their doctor who can help address any concerns.