Central Virginia unites to give back to first responders working during pandemic

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There is a huge outpouring of support from many who just want to show appreciation to first responders and those battling this pandemic. From meals to even free lodging, there are efforts from businesses working to show that Virginia is strong.

Like many companies across the area, Rosie's Gaming Emporium is closed due to Coronavirus.

"While our facilities are closed, we have the ability to help others,” Mark Hubbard said.

So some of the workers there who have been sent home with pay are stepping up to come back and prepare food, Not for customers but for first responders.

“We’ll be making meals in the Rosie’s kitchen, just the kind of things that we normally make, burgers pizzas, stuff like that and we’ll be packaging them so that firefighters, police officers, nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, anybody that’s really out there on the front line every day that’s helping everyone else,” Hubbard added.

They’re starting on April 1 with the goal of preparing some 20,000 meals. They’re not alone.

"We pre-made the meals so they were already boxed up. We did curbside service,” Ricky Johnson said.

The Ricky Johnson and Friends Foundation teamed up with Golden Chorale to feed first responders Wednesday.

Other national chains are joining the action. Starbucks and Krispy Kreme all have freebies for those working on the front lines of the pandemic.

"Everybody has to help each other,” Gurdeep Jaswal said.

He manages the Oyo motel in Petersburg. The chain is reserving a section of its rooms to give first responders and medical staff free lodging if they need it.

"Sometime they can't go home. They can stay here in the area. They don't have to drive 1 hour or 2 hour. Some people drive 2 hours to the hospital, especially in the Petersburg area. People drive from north to Petersburg so they can stay. They don't have to go back and forth,” Jaswal said.

Johnson’s Foundation is also planning to visit area hospitals.

"Starting on Wednesday, we’re going to be doing mid -eek blessings where we're going to be doing care packages for your frontline and these are your nurses and doctors that work in the ERs where we’re going to drop off surprise packages for them and blessing them for all the work they are doing," Johnson said.

The Ricky Johnson and Friends Foundation is also collecting and giving away vitamins and household toiletries for senior citizens and children in the area. If you’d like to donate or receive from the group, their office is located at 1804 East Belt Boulevard in Richmond. They can be reached at 804-729-4183.

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