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Hikers Venture Down New Path, Assisting Hospitals, Restaurants

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All they wanted was to create an activity that would provide exercise and a chance to socialize with their friends. 

From left: Jen Baers, Jane McCord, and Jill Bailey.

But since the coronavirus COVID-19 struck the West Coast, Jen Baers, Jane McCord, and Jill Bailey put away their Wander Women hiking shoes, and began venturing down a new path.

The teamwork and other skills they honed while organizing weekly adventures on Southern California’s scenic trails over the last three years have come in handy in this time of crisis.

“We immediately canceled all our hikes,” said Baers, a West Hollywood web designer. “But we still keep in touch. We started brainstorming because we just felt like we needed to do something.”

The concern for healthcare workers during this intense and dangerous time is nearly universal, “and we saw what was happening with our local restaurants,” said McCord.

“We focused on the mom & pop places that have all this food. We asked them if they could make the meals and deliver the food, and waive the delivery fee.”

Keeping the hardworking doctors, nurses and staff nourished while supporting local restaurants “became a no-brainer,” added Bailey.

“Our medical professionals are working hard on the front lines and not having to think about what to feed themselves for a few meals could let them keep their focus where it’s needed,” she said.

“Also,” added Baers, “this would give restaurants the business, because the food service industry is taking a big hit right now.”

They contacted three local hospitals to figure out how to set the plan in motion. Once they got approval from Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, and Los Robles Regional Medical Center, they arranged with the restaurants, including Frank Weiler’s Deli & Restaurant,  Grabbagreen, and Brent’s Deli, to make the deliveries.

“It was important to have the food individually wrapped so sandwich shops and delis were a good place to start,” said McCord. “When the first meal from our GoFundMe arrived we were so excited about it. They sent a picture thanking us.” [See above]

The campaign was launched on Saturday (March 28), and within 24 hours enough money was raised to schedule meals for the entire ER unit at Los Robles hospital, two entire units at Kaiser, and an entire unit at Providence.
(Click the GoFundMe link to see more about the campaign, make a donation or to donate meals to healthcare workers.)

“Our hope is to continue to add hospitals and restaurants to the list and keep delivering these meals,” said Baers. “We would like to connect with someone at Cedars-Sinai, and get West Hollywood restaurants involved.

“This fight might go on for quite a while and we’re prepared to pitch in as much as we can.”

Join the cause or find out more about it by clicking the GoFundMe link .

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and is currently producing a documentary for her own company, Saving Grace Films.

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