MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – To say it’s been a tough year for hospital workers would be an understatement. But this week, a local boy gave nurses and doctors a reason to smile with a special delivery fueled by the love of an entire community.

“Every night we’ve been praying about the virus and praying for the doctors and nurses,” said James Svensk of Maple Grove.

One night during bedtime five-year-old Eli Svensk told his dad James that he wanted to help people. He wanted to help health care workers.

That’s when James and Eli posted a fundraising page to buy meals from a local restaurant to give to health care workers at the Maple Grove Hospital.

They raised nearly $3,000 in a few weeks and dropped off 225 meals Wednesday, going to the people who care for us at our worst.

“It’s been a longer haul than any of us anticipated that it was going to be,” said Wendy Ulferts, the Maple Grove Hospital Chief Nursing Officer. “We’re just trying to find the little silver linings and this is one of them.”

And this silver lining was complete with a card saying “thank you for risking your lives to save ours.”

“We’re pretty sure they were smiling. We couldn’t see the smiles because of the masks but we’re pretty sure they were smiling,” said Eli.

“I really think we’re going into 2021 just more hopeful,” said Ulferts.

Hope fueled by the vaccine and support from the community. Sometimes love shows up in 225 paper bag meals. Sometimes, that’s enough to make all the difference.

Eli and his dad hope others will do the same for hospitals and care centers in their neighborhoods.


Erin Hassanzadeh