HOW DID IT ALL START?
I started to send kosher food to one of my closest friends who was working on the COVID frontlines at Mount Sinai. I would post pictures of how happy she was and people kept asking how they could get involved. I realized that I have an opportunity to use my platform (@rachieshnay) to organize meals to be delivered to entire hospital units, all while supporting local kosher establishments. Since I have a jewelry business and an active business instagram account, I decided to call this initiative, "Feed Our Gems," because our healthcare heroes are our most treasured gems risking their lives and isolating themselves from their families for months. While feeling helpless at home, the least we could do is show our support and love and make sure they are well fed. Our heroes were exhausted, depleted and had no time to think where their next meal was coming from, especially if they keep Kosher, many of them were eating vending machine snacks. I also wanted to ensure that our kosher establishments would have some business coming in to support their staff and ensure that they remain open. Every dollar donated was a win win for everyone!
HOW DID IT WORK?
A healthcare worker reached out to me and told me when and where they want food, I ordered from a kosher restaurant and always enough to feed 20+ healthcare workers in their unit- Jewish or not Jewish, Kosher or not Kosher, we want everyone to have a delicious warm meal! Feed our Gems is meant to be a kiddish Hashem to show that despite many harsh accusations made against Jewish communities during this time, Jewish people care about feeding and caring for EVERYONE, zero discrimination. We delivered to ANY hospital in the country, as long as a kosher restaurant delivers to them! We have sent to over 40 different hospitals and nursing homes in New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island...) New Jersey, Connecticut, and even as far as Boston!...it was so humbling and beautiful to see how the community came together. The doctors and nurses were so incredibly appreciative and sent the most heartfelt texts of gratitude and made it all worth it!
HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE LIVING IN THE CORONA EPICENTER OF THE WORLD?
I am a born and raised city girl and while it was definitely surreal, eerie and at times scary to be living in the center of the pandemic, it truly made me appreciate and respect my city even more. I loved watching how our city came together- every night at 7 PM went to our windows/balconies and screamed and banged our pots to show our love and appreciation for our healthcare workers. We did not miss a night for nearly three months and it always brought tears to my eyes to see my neighbors behind their windows. We would wave and blow kisses to each other, counting on one another and even if we never met we stood strong for each other. I am looking forward to the day where I can actually meet them in person on the street and we can reminisce about our nightly 7 PM routine! I make posted the 7PM clap every night so that the doctors and nurses could watch and see how grateful we are and always will be for them. My love for my city has only strengthened during this time and I feel so lucky to be a New Yorker.
Here are some pictures of our gems with their daily meals and our feature in the Times of Israel! To read the full article visit: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/cindys-corners-meet-jeweler-rachel-shnay-feeding-our-gems/
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