Community Members Made 22 Days of Meals for a Northfield Nursing Home Hit by COVID-19 | 802 Much | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Community Members Made 22 Days of Meals for a Northfield Nursing Home Hit by COVID-19

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Muffins, cauliflower bisque, and ham-and-broccoli mac and cheese - COURTESY OF HEATHER COLLINS
  • Courtesy Of Heather Collins
  • Muffins, cauliflower bisque, and ham-and-broccoli mac and cheese

When nearly every patient and some of the staff at Four Seasons Care Home came down with COVID-19, Courtney Tabor felt overwhelmed.

She and Ashley Hudson, co-owners of the Northfield nursing home, also contracted the virus during the November outbreak, but they kept working amid a critical staffing shortage. The cook was pulled from the kitchen to help care for the 31 residents, about 30 of whom were ultimately infected.

At least seven employees were sidelined — either out sick or off the job to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

"When you have a small staff, that's a huge blow to us," Tabor said.

About a week into the outbreak, a community member, Heather Collins, asked how to help. Tabor immediately thought about meals. Collins quickly organized a three-week schedule to provide three meals a day. It filled up in four days.

"People were asking if we could extend it because they also wanted to be able to help," Tabor said, "but we had no more slots available."

Volunteers and restaurants dropped off piles of food: pasta, soup, mac and cheese, shepherd's pie, homemade rolls, and lasagna. The Woods Lodge, a local events space with a restaurant, cooked Thanksgiving dinner, and O'Maddi's Delaurant supplied a big breakfast. There were always leftovers, some of which became evening snacks. Collins said it all added up to approximately 1,980 meals across 22 days.

"It was amazing," Tabor said. "This kind of stuff makes me cry."

The help allowed the facility to focus on care. One resident who contracted the virus and who had already been in hospice care ultimately died, Tabor said. The others recovered.

Tabor's optimistic they've made it through the worst of the pandemic. Last Friday, the home's residents and caregivers received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Meals to Heal"