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North Hills Monthly

Shady Side Academy Sisters Launch Feeding the Frontline PGH to Support Local Restaurants & Health Care Workers During COVID-19

As Pittsburgh settles in to the new normal of social distancing, many local restaurants face a grim reality – how to operate when people aren't coming. And local health care workers need support and nourishment as they fight the battle against COVID-19 on the frontlines.

That's where Shady Side Academy junior Claire Taylor, her sister, SSA alumna Maddie Taylor '14, and Maddie's friend, Souki Eljamri, come in. These three young women have teamed up to launch Feeding the Frontline PGH, a grassroots effort to support local restaurants while nourishing health care workers fighting COVID-19, all at the same time.

Here's how it works: Feeding the Frontline PGH collects donations through GoFundMe and Venmo (@feedingthefrontlinepgh), then uses the money to make large food orders with generous tips at local restaurants. They pick up and deliver the food to Pittsburgh hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing centers and doctor's offices to support the health care workers who are taking tremendous risks to save lives and care for those affected by COVID-19. Their pickups and deliveries are chronicled in photos on their Instagram account, @feedingthefrontlinepgh.

As of March 31, the trio had raised more than $5,000 over five days and made six deliveries, feeding over 200 health care workers. Restaurants supported include Friendship Perk & Brew, Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse, Oakmont Bakery, Mineo's Pizza and La Gourmandine bakery. Deliveries have gone to health care workers at UPMC Presbyterian's ER and MICU, UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Center-Lawrenceville, ManorCare Shadyside and the Central Outreach Wellness Center's drive-through COVID-19 testing site in the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium parking lot.

Claire and Maddie's parents are both doctors, so they know firsthand the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on local health care workers. Their mom, SSA alumna Dr. Sandy Sauereisen '84, is a primary care physician, and their dad, Dr. Mark Taylor, is an anesthesiologist.

"Having two parents who work in health care, plus Souki and her partner as aspiring medical professionals, we knew we wanted to do something to support the Pittsburgh community during this challenging time," said Claire. "We had a feeling this was something Pittsburghers could get behind – supporting our favorite local food joints and our health care workers at the same time! The idea has taken off tremendously – and we're just getting started!"

Originally born in Boston, the Feeding the Frontline effort has begun spreading to other cities across the nation, such as Pittsburgh, thanks to the efforts of volunteers like the Taylors and Eljamri. Maddie, a 2018 graduate of Penn State, and Souki, a 2018 graduate of Pitt, met and worked closely together during their Fulbright U.S. Student Grant in Malaysia last year. Two of their Fulbright colleagues started Feeding the Frontline programs in Houston and Portland, which is how they heard about it and had the idea to start one in Pittsburgh.