MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For months, doctors, nurses, and the staff who support them have been at war with a virus. COVID-19 is straining health professionals, but it’s also sparking ideas about how people can help fuel their fight.

All day today, WCCO is hosting a Day of Giving for Feeding the Frontline Minnesota. The non-profit is feeding frontline workers with health food from restaurants that need the business. WCCO’s Reg Chapman met the small group of individuals behind the effort.

Anna Decker felt helping frontline workers is the only way to keep them strong in the fight against COVID-19.

“We wanted to find a way to help support and nurture frontline body, mind, and spirit, and whatever we could do to help in this situation and contribute how we could,” Decker said.

Her first call was to her cousin Ryan Hoffman. He, like Decker, has a partner that is a physician. Hoffman is a personal chef, and the pair of them decided they could help both frontline workers and restaurants.

Donations would be used to buy food from restaurants that otherwise would be closed. These restaurants would then provide nutrient-dense, healthy food to Minnesota care providers. working on the front line of the COVID-19 response.

“It’s like a double feel-good,” Decker said.

That’s how Feeding the Frontline MN was born, uncharted waters for this family but at the same time not really. This selfless service to others is in their DNA, its foundation lies in the challenge from family patriach Gene Hoffman, the father of Decker’s mother Deb Fee.

“I’m from a family of 10 kids. I am the second oldest,” Fee said.

Fee called her father a giving and caring soul. On his death bed he challenged his family.

“We were all sitting on the bed with him and, you know, all of us were saying ‘Dad, we hope to grow more like you.’ So instead of brushing it off or even saying thank you he said something more powerful … he said, ‘You have the opportunity,'” Fee said. “When he said those words I think it just went into all of our hearts. I think it changed our lives and it has become a big part of our family mission. And I believe its why Anna is doing what she is doing, and that my nieces and nephews have jumped on board.”

Fee said she told WCCO the story not to talk about her family, but rather “to help you know more about what the possibilities are for you, and for each person.”

Feeding the Frontline MN was created so we can all have the opportunity to help. This family wants you to become a part of an effort that is healing both frontline workers and restaurants inside and out.

Click here to donate. Any dollar amount helps. A $10 donation provides a healthy meal and a healthy snack for someone working in the hospital. So far, Feeding the Frontline MN has been able to serve 7,300 meals and 7,200 snacks thanks to donations.

Reg Chapman