MIAMI(CBSMIAMI) – Health care workers at Jackson Memorial Hospital say they are truly humbled by and grateful for an extraordinary act of charity by Good Samaritan Joe Zevuloni and his company.
Zevuloni Public Adjusters has been serving 1,000 lunchtime meals every day at JMH and expects to make and serve a total of 5,000 meals by late Friday afternoon.
He may return to the hospital next week.
He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he is spending tens of thousands of dollars on the effort but says it is worth every penny.
Zevuloni, who has been profiled in previous CBS4 stories, is using his My Wish 4 U mobile kitchen.
“These are our heroes,” he said. “These are community heroes and they are on the front lines during this pandemic. We wanted to show our love and support for the crews fighting this. This is like a war. They are on the front lines risking their Ives for us. What they are doing has no price on it. I can’t even imagine. They are risking their lives. They are doctors, nurses, janitors, cooks. They are people who do things to keep us safe.”
He said he and a dozen workers create vegan dishes, falafels with salad and hummus, fresh pita bread, salmon teriyaki with noodles, grilled American burgers with onions and mushrooms, ribeye steak meals and special soup and rice.
Gabriela Vargas, an executive assistant at Jackson Memorial Hospital, helped deliver some of the meals to one area at JMH and said “I appreciate everything they are doing. We are so thankful.”
Dr. Carol Biggs, the Chief of Nursing at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said “Oh my God. This is awesome. This is absolutely fantastic. The staff here is working so hard. This means so much because nurses, doctors, and health care workers always give and they never expect anything back. This is what we do but to have the community and others come in and actually say this is what we do and we care about you it deeply touches all of us.”
Luis DeRosa Jr., who has been a trauma nurse for 10 years and works inside the Ryder Trauma Center, said “This is something we were not expecting as far as this kind of response. And other things have happened. People have been donating masks and bracelets. It’s all for a good cause and I feel like the community really identifies with that. It is very dangerous fighting this virus. But we really appreciate all of this help.”
“I know it is just a meal,” he added. “But it really brightens up our day and shows that people really care about us and everyone involved.”
DeRosa, like many health care workers, is saddened by a truly heartbreaking story from New York City. Dr. Lorna Breen had contracted COVID-19, recovered, and then went back to work. On Sunday, she took her own life, according to her father, Dr. Phillip Breen.
He told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “Sunday, she took her own life. I think she was tired and the kind of person, as someone aptly put it, like a fireman who rushes into a building to save someone and doesn’t save herself.”
DeRosa says the stress has eased somewhat.
“As far as being on the front lines and my team and my staff and my colleagues, they were scared in the beginning. In reality, this is not what we signed up for but this is our job. This is our calling and everybody is reacting accordingly. I definitely had conversations with people who were worried about bringing something back to their loved ones,” he said.
“There are are a lot of unknowns,” he said. “I am still learning. I tell everybody this is a moving target. There is an evolving protocol and new ways of thinking about the threat to these patients. We are looking at a lot of data and research and how people are responding. We take care of these patients day in and day out but I think everybody is responding well. The feeling I get from my staff is that they are seeing some progress. They are seeing something with these patients getting better and being discharged and that’s amazing to help with this response.”