The team at Lisa Dupar Catering has found hearty entree salad and sandwich combinations to be the most effective for the meals they prepare for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

The team at Lisa Dupar Catering has found hearty entree salad and sandwich combinations to be the most effective for the meals they prepare for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

By Hannah Sheil

UW News Lab

A new program is providing free meals for first responders who are operating COVID-19 testing sites across King County.

The three testing sites — in Seattle, Shoreline, and Covington — are dedicated to testing the area’s first responders as required by their agencies.

The first responder-designated sites come after limited access to testing hindered emergency medical services’ ability to serve their communities safely, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a prepared statement on March 19.

Gratitude Meals, a donation-funded initiative by the Medic One Foundation, are hearty lunches being given to the first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

“It provides relief from the stress of dealing with the virus,” foundation executive director Jan Sprake said. “It lets them worry about more important things at the time instead of having to worry about food.”

Gratitude Meals began after staff at the foundation identified the need to support the workers staffing the sites, a necessary task to ensure efficient operations, Sprake said. Providing meals guarantees workers are fed and nourished and removes the need to pre-pack their food or find a meal nearby.

More than 500 meals are scheduled to be delivered by the end of April.

The Medic One Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle and Bellevue, supports the region’s first response emergency medical system through fundraising, training and researching new methods of out-of-hospital patient care.

James Gasser with Lisa Dupar Catering prepares sandwiches, part of the boxed lunches that will be delivered to first responders working at COVID-19 testing sites. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

James Gasser with Lisa Dupar Catering prepares sandwiches, part of the boxed lunches that will be delivered to first responders working at COVID-19 testing sites. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

While the Gratitude Meals is feeding first responders at COVID-19 testing sites, local restaurants and caterers are benefiting too.

Lisa Dupar, a Redmond chef and business owner, is one of the people partnering with the Medic One Foundation to provide meals.

Dupar owns and operates Redmond-based Pomegranate Bistro and Lisa Dupar Catering, both of which she said are being financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

“It’s been pretty devastating,” Dupar said. “The industry — the whole event industry, I should say — just got the rug pulled out from under their feet.”

She said she is staying positive, choosing to focus on creative solutions to continue to serve customers while also partnering with local support efforts such as the Gratitude Meals program.

The Medic One Foundation is also partnering with Gourmondo, a Seattle caterer and cafe company, to provide boxed lunches for the first responder tester staff.

Dan Kiley, executive chef at Lisa Dupar Catering, prepares Mediterranean salads for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Dan Kiley, executive chef at Lisa Dupar Catering, prepares Mediterranean salads for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Planning meals means more than merely picking food. Dupar’s staff must carefully plan meals that can be individually packaged, consumed without an oven or microwave and last for a set amount of time after delivery. Her team has found hearty entree salad and sandwich combinations to be the most effective, with each boxed lunch totaling about $15, she said.

Once they are ready, the meals are delivered to staff at the three COVID-19 testing sites. Nurses with the Puget Sound Fire CARES program initially staffed the sites, but now other first responder personnel are taking on the duty, Capt. Joe Root, public information officer for Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, said.

Some of the Gratitude Meals donors have included notes to accompany their meal purchase, Sprake said.

“Thank you for tirelessly and selflessly working every day to keep all of us safe,” reads one of the messages.

Fresh sandwiches and cookies are individually wrapped before being placed in boxes and delivered to first responders. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Fresh sandwiches and cookies are individually wrapped before being placed in boxes and delivered to first responders. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Dupar has continued to see generosity expressed in a multitude of ways. The support comes from long-time customers who continue to support her business through take-out, bags of food assembled for Seattle school-age children, and the donors who have supported programs like Gratitude Meals.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff set up helping a lot of people out there,” Dupar said. “People are really, really being very generous.”

Hannah Sheil is a journalism student currently enrolled in the University of Washington’s News Laboratory.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Life

Three drive-in films set for Kent’s ShoWare Center Aug. 12-16

‘The Lion King,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’

Black Diamond Community Center hosts garage sale; Ten Trails starts scavenger hunt

The garage sale is Aug. 6 through 9, but the scavenger hunt lasts all month, with weekly prizes.

Your library can help you ‘borrow’ a free Discover Pass

Pierce County libraries are also offering a backpack with educational materials and binoculars, while King County libraries are just letting people check out the passes.

Reconnect with those around you this Neighbors Night Out

Whether it’s in person or over the internet, this is a good time to check in with one another.

Weekend livestock show fills the void for kids and their animals

You can still live bid at the Expo Center, or, for the first time, bid online.

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Wear your mask, keep your distance | Public Health Insider

A King County survey shows that more people are wearing masks, but less are social distancing

Enumclaw library materials available with Curbside to Go

You can make an appointment on the myLIBRO mobile app or just walk up to the table they have out front.

State Parks announces two new free days in the fall

These days replace the Spring free day, April 11, and Earth Day, April 22.

Enumclaw High’s graduating class of 2020 was honored with a parade and concert Monday afternoon at the Expo Center. The event was put together in a week, following a phone call from country artist Drew Baldridge. More than 200 vehicles gathered on the midway, filled with grads, family and friends. After Baldridge performed three songs, the crowd was led from the Expo Center by grad Cooper Hanson in a John Deere tractor. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Special events highlight EHS Class of 2020

Hornets had an afternoon graduation parade and concert at the Enumclaw Expo Center, followed by an evening program aired on ECTV.

Some areas on Mount Rainier now open to visitors

For the most part, only daytime use is being permitted, but back country camping is available.

Local resident releases “Tahoma,” tells of Mount Rainier’s natural history

It took six years to write the book, and another four to publish.