For me, Easter represents a time of hope and of a time of miracles.
No matter what our faith, it is a time of resurrection a reminder that no matter how dark the day, the possibility of light exists to raise us out of the tomb of despair.
For me, that dark moment came a few months ago on January 6, 2021.
You see, up to that point Project Angel Food had not one case of COVID in the first nine months of the pandemic. Yet, in spite of our stringent safety protocols, with the holiday COVID surge, that all changed. Within a two-week period, seven of our drivers, dispatch workers, and chefs fell ill to COVID, and other employees were quarantining because of possible exposure - a shadow fell on Project Angel Food.
The darkest day was on that sixth of January when five drivers were out. That’s five routes. Meals to 250 clients were in jeopardy.
Our mantra from the beginning has been “No one misses a meal.” And we were not going to let it happen on that day either. No matter what department you worked in, you stopped what you were doing to fill in at dispatch or to deliver. Volunteers, dispatch workers, and client services personnel all took routes. I rolled up my sleeves, jumped into a van, and hit the road with our former CEO John Gile. We delivered 329 meals to 47 clients in Silverlake, Glendale, Altadena and Pasadena. We started at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t finish until 7 p.m.
While delivering the meals, I got a phone call from Don Macaulay, our Sr. Director of Operations and Administration. He said, “I have very sad news, Chef Randy has passed away.”
Heartbroken, I crafted an email alerting the staff of the tragic news while John drove. A wave of shock spread through the building. We sent our chefs and kitchen assistants home early.
The insurrection on our nation’s Capital was playing out on the radio, seemingly echoing the fear and tensions of the day at our own agency 3,000 miles away. Something was happening at Project Angel Food that I hadn’t seen since COVID began - people were afraid and nervous. We needed a miracle, we needed a shift, we needed to rise above that battlefield of anxiety.
We let our hope lift us out of our despair.
I immediately started making calls to our champions at LA County Department of Public Health, the CEOs of Men’s Health Foundation and APLA Health pleading the urgency of the situation - our team must be vaccinated for us to fulfill our mission of delivering Medically Tailored Meals to L.A.’s most vulnerable. They agreed, and I’m happy to report that now 90 percent of our staffers are vaccinated.
Thank you for helping us make the miracle of Project Angel Food happen every day for the 2,300 people who depend on us.
To health, joy, and happiness today and always,