Association Feeds Entire Hospital, Thanks Healthcare Workers
By Caleb Hicks
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, or AP&EA, served more than 300 Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits to Baptist Medical Center East staff April 28 in appreciation for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AP&EA CEO Johnny Adams said the organization stands behind healthcare employees during this unprecedented event.
“These valuable folks are on the front lines across the country,” Adams said. “It’s important they know we are supporting them as they face this crisis head-on in many directions. We as an organization wanted to give back the best way we knew how, and that included providing one of America’s favorite proteins, from one of America’s favorite food establishments.”
Assistant nurse manager Jonatha Joy said the variety of meals that have been donated to the hospital in the past several weeks has lifted the spirits of employees battling the invisible virus.
“Our healthcare workers — housekeepers all the way up to administration — are here to work together to combat this disease while also caring for our day-to-day patients,” Joy said. “We are here to support the community, and to have this appreciation from them is great. We truly feel the love.”
Baptist Health, which covers the River Region in central Alabama, has received more than 5,000 meals in the last six weeks from local businesses and area organizations, something Hunter Day, a Baptist Health RN, said helps them stay focused on caring for and protecting patients.
“As healthcare providers, we are giving spiritual, emotional and medical support for all of those affected by COVID-19,” Day said. “From patients to the families who love them, we are providing support during this crisis. We are also supporting each other. These meals give us a boost of energy, physically and mentally, and help remind us we’re not in this fight alone.”
Ray Hilburn, AP&EA associate director, said showing support to healthcare employees is always important, but most especially now.
“Just as the poultry industry is essential, the healthcare workers are tremendously important to keeping everyone safe during this pandemic,” Hilburn said. “We felt this was a nice way for us to show our support for what they are doing, not only during this crisis but also every day.”
Joy said throughout this unusual health crisis, their team has become closer because of it and has given staff a new outlook on what it means to work in healthcare.
“With all the precautions being taken and visitor restrictions, we have been filling the gap for families,” Joy said. “We take extra steps to sit with patients and hold their hands when they need support and rejoice with them when they have victories. We are invested in our patients and desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
“To receive the outpouring of support like this gives us hope, and that’s something that has inspired us all.”
The Alabama Poultry and Egg Association represents Alabama's poultry industry, which is the state's largest agricultural industry with an annual economic impact of $15 billion. Alabama's poultry industry generates more than 65 percent of agricultural commodity sales and employs more than 86,000 workers while processing over 22 million broiler chickens per week.