Local Groups Honor Doctors and Nurses While Supporting Orinda Restaurants

(Lynn Kalmar, Photographer)
Evie Kalmar, a 4th grader at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, colors a thank you card for inclusion in lunch packages to frontline workers. The cards were designed by Tim Hancock of the Lamorinda Arts Council.

    Restaurants have been hit especially hard during the year-long pandemic as they toggle between take-out only, outdoor dining and limited indoor dining. While a small light is gleaming at the end of a very long tunnel in the form of a vaccine, most of Orinda’s local eateries are still struggling to survive.
    In the meantime, medical workers continue to work long shifts as they deal with large numbers of seriously ill patients separated from loved ones. Often these frontline workers provide the only connection to very ill patients and their families. The physical and emotional toll on them continues to grow as these dedicated individuals keep others safe while worrying about their own families.
    In efforts to acknowledge the tireless struggles of medical workers and to support Orinda restaurants, a group of seven Orinda organizations have partnered to provide meals from local restaurants, as well as thank you cards colored by Orinda students to the staff at several Contra Costa County hospitals the week of March 15.
    “People are really excited about this,” said The Orinda Association Board Member Chris Laszcz-Davis. “It reaches the soul, takes us out of our own little bubble and allows us to nurture and appreciate both our restaurants and our frontline workers.”
    The Orinda Association (OA) provides the logistics for the March event in partnership with the Orinda Community Foundation, Lamorinda Arts Council, Orinda Chamber of Commerce, Orinda Garden Club, Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary and Rotary Club of Orinda. Artist Tim Hancock from the Arts Council designed the thank you cards the students will color before they get packed with each lunch and the Garden Club will deliver flowers to the hospitals.
    “The restaurants I’ve been coordinating are so surprised and pleased people are thinking of them and their welfare,” said OA Board Member Diane Lautz. “I’ve also been working with the hospitals to be certain the box meals we provide meet their criteria and County Health Department standards.”
    To fund the lunches, the organizations have set up a GoFundMe account, which can be accessed on the OA’s website at www.orindaassociation.org.
    “Many people want to thank our frontline workers, but they don’t know how,” said Laszcz-Davis. “This is one way to start.”

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