DENVER — Seeing people come together and help during this pandemic has been an undeniable bright spot. One local woman is seeing that firsthand after donations for the organization she started grew exponentially in just days.
“It’s mind-boggling,” said Gretchen TeBockhorst who recently founded Feeding Colorado Heroes. “So many people want to help.”
When TeBockhorst started the organization just a few weeks ago, she knew people would want to help, but she had no idea just how many people would step up.
“Every morning I’m waking up and checking the donation status and it’s jumping sometimes 2 to $3,000 a day,” said TeBockhorst. “To be honest I thought we might raise a few thousand dollars and help a few different hospital teams. At just 2 ½ weeks we’re at more than $30,000.”
The idea is a simple one, raise money to order meals from struggling restaurants to give to healthcare workers.
“The cafeterias now are really limited when it comes to food because it’s not safe for people to share things like salad bars and buffets,” said TeBockhorst. “A lot of what they were eating was packaged goods, things out of the vending machine.”
For TeBockhorst, it’s also personal.
“I own a public relations agency and the majority of our clients are restaurants,” she said. “It was just heartbreaking to see what they were trying to work through in the current situation.”
She started a GoFundMe page on March 20 working with restaurants across the Front Range, like Woodgrain Bagels.
“I found them on Instagram and saw that they were coordinating with a lot of local hospitals,” said Danielle Brennan from Woodgrain Bagels.
Woodgrain has five locations, including one on Anshutz’s Medical Campus.
“This whole thing kind of hit our heartstrings just because we know them from every day, they’re not just first responders to us, they’re our customers and we see them every day,” said Brennan.
They have been collecting donations for their “Breakfast for Champions” program, also feeding first responders.
So partnering with Feeding Colorado Heroes just made sense. They put together 200 bagels and spread for workers at Rose Medical Center.
“It was about being able to work with people who really care about hospitals and first responders,” said Brennan.
“We obviously can’t go tell our medical community in person that we appreciate them so much,” said TeBockhorst. “We can do it through food and simultaneously help our restaurants who are struggling so much. It’s brought me to tears, people really want to help and it’s amazing.”
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