Program to provide free meals to Grayling hospital employees extended through May
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A program that gets meals into the hands of employees working at the Grayling Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital has been extended as they continue to work on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hannah Techel, a Gaylord resident, established a Meal Train account to supply meals to night shift workers at the Grayling Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital as well as employees at the Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord.
Initially, Techel was inspired to launch the program in Gaylord because her mother-in-law, Tami Techel, and sister-in-law, Stacey Holzschu, work at the hospital in Gaylord.
The Meal Train program was established for nighttime workers at the Grayling hospital since Techel knows nurses who work there.
“The one in Gaylord was building so much momentum and morale that some nurses in Grayling said we wish we have that, too,” she said.
The hospital cafeteria is not open during evening and nighttime hours to get food to its busy employees.
Organizations, businesses, and individuals have been keeping a steady of stream of meals going to employees working at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital as they work long shifts battling coronavirus.
“The community of Grayling has stepped up and has just spoiled the night shift,” Techel said.
A realtor by trade, Techel has not been able to work until COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on the real estate industry last week.
“You always want to help out and you always want to give back,” she said.
Besides arranging the food through Meal Train, Techel said monetary donations were made to buy snacks and goodies for day shift employees at the hospital.
“It’s humbling to be able to help in some way because we’re so limited in what we can do to be able to help,” she said.
Techel said she has learned some things along with the way to be COVID-friendly such as not having contact when the meals are delivered as part of social distancing measures.
“In the end, you can’t put a price on safety,” she said.
The program was extended for Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital employees through the month of May since the hospital is serving as a hub for patients from Otsego and Crawford County who are being treated for COVID-19.
Techel said it was inspiring that a platform like mealtrain.com, which was established in 2010, is available to help others.
The Grayling Promotional Association arranged for meals to be delivered to hospital employees through the Gray Rock Pub and Grub, Tinker’s Junction, Westside Diner, the Grayling Restaurant, and Spikes Keg O’Nails for five nights.
“It is a wonderful way for individuals and communities to help when and where it is needed,” said Jeannie Pratt, the president of the Grayling Promotional Association.
The Rotary Club of Grayling, area businesses, and individuals also sponsored meals for the hospital workers.
Last week, on Tuesday, May 5, the board of directors for Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital paid for a meal for hospital employees to observe Cinco de Mayo.
Kim Morely, the chair of the hospital’s board of directors, said meals went to day and nighttime employees as well employees that work at other sites that are still open.
The hospital kitchen staff prepared a taco and nacho bar, a key lime dessert, and limeade for the employees.
“It was just easier for us from a logistical perspective,” Morely said.
The meal is one of the favorites served in the cafeteria.
Morely said the board would have liked to have been there to thank the employees for working through these uncertain times, but acknowledged they can’t due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We didn’t want to go without doing something,” she said.
Morely said it was gratifying being able to show support for the employees as they work through the pandemic.
“The courage and their commitment to the community is pretty outstanding,” she said.
Tinker’s Junction arranged to provide one meal for the hospital employees as well as ones sponsored by the the Grayling Promotional Association, the Rotary Club of Grayling, and hospital board’s senior leadership team.
Katie Tinker, the owner of Tinker’s Junction, said preparing the meals has been a life line along with the carry out business the eatery is doing.
“It’s given us a little bit more business than what the carry out has,” she said. “It’s also having the recognition and being able to support the responders here at the hospital.”
Tinker said preparing meals helped keep some employees on the payroll when business would have been at a springtime lull.
“They think it’s a pretty cool idea to be able to do this and it’s also given them the opportunity to work as well,” she said.
The meals also allowed the employees to work outside the box of quickly preparing items for carry out.
“They liked being able to creative with the work with what we were doing because we were doing such masses,” Tinker said. “It’s a bit different type of work for us.”
To donate funds for meals for Grayling hospital employees through the platform or to sign up as a sponsor, go to https://mealtrain.com/ok3r9l.