Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Leslie Gudel, the founder of “Food It Forward,” which is helping Pennsylvania restaurants forced to close during the coronavirus outbreak, said on “Fox & Friends First” on Friday that the initiative is “working well to be able to touch various people on all levels.”
Speaking via Skype, Gudel described how the group is purchasing gift cards and then donating them to families in need as well as first responders.
“I thought about trying to help local restaurants because I have several friends who own local restaurants and it’s a tough time for them right now so I thought we have a foundation that we use for my daughter’s health condition and I thought, ‘Why don’t we run this through the foundation?’”
The foundation is called “Kendall’s Crusade” and aims to help those impacted by aneurysms and Arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which occurs most often in the brain or spine, according to the Mayo Clinic. A brain AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Gudel said she thought using her foundation to spread awareness about AVM while helping those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic would be a good idea.
“I put a message out on Facebook and asked some friends if they wanted to give back to the local community and I had 12 women step forward and we created ‘Food It Forward’ and we’re taking in donations to be able to help them,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘What do we do with the gift cards we buy from the local restaurants?’”
She said she figured she could give them to local hospitals, first responders and food banks in her community who need the gift cards the most.
“Food It Forward” is helping to support 40 restaurants and purchased $17,600 worth of gift cards so far, which were then distributed.
“It’s really starting to gear toward the food banks a little bit because the need is growing so much, there are six area food banks who we’re giving back to at this point,” she said.
She noted that “Food It Forward” reached more than $30,000 in donations on Thursday.
“It’s just one of those things that, wow, we could help so many people at one time,” Gudel said.
“We’ve had people from outside our community ask to take part, other restaurants have asked [to be part of it] and we just can’t manage more than we have, with 40 restaurants and a small volunteer crew,” she added. “We want to keep it here in our community and I just encourage others to do the same thing.”
If you would like to learn more or get involved visit: FoodItForwardte.org