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Meals4Meds Amanda Basham Atkinson '04 is supporting local restaurants and health care professionals in Fort Worth, Texas.

Meals4Meds-ABA-800x533 Meals4MedsAmanda Basham Atkinson ’04 (right) with a member of the Texas Health Harris Hospital ER staff. She’d like everyone to know that it was a medically sanctioned violation of social distancing protocols.

“I realize that my little project won’t save the world, but for a brief moment, I had a little bit of control over my little bubble.”

~ Amanda Basham Atkinson ’04

Setting up a fundraising campaign was right out of Amanda Basham Atkinson ’04’s comfort zone.

“I’ve always admired my friends who are so involved with raising money for food or clothing drives. We’re all so busy and have a million other things going on, but they seem to find the time to do this. I was completely inspired by them,” she said.

Atkinson, who is finishing up her doctorate in English at SMU, created a Go Fund Me page to buy meals from local restaurants to distribute to hospital staff in the Fort Worth, Texas, area. “The idea kind of just popped into my head,” she said. “I think people find comfort in feeding others, and it seemed like something that would benefit various sectors that needed community support — specifically health care workers who are on the front lines in this fight against COVID-19 and restaurant staff who are getting laid off.”

In particular, she was struck by a comment her husband Will ‘02, who develops software for small businesses made. “The forecast is that 30 to 50% of small businesses, including restaurants, will close because of the pandemic. That’s just such a horrible tragedy for not only the individuals who will lose their jobs, but also for our communities.”

Through Meals4Meds, she raised $3,000 to purchase meals from Cannon Chinese Kitchen and Z’s Café. She made two deliveries to Texas Health Harris Methodist’s emergency department, for a total of 250 lunches and dinners.

“The hospital staff was so appreciative, and the restaurant owners said this helped their staff’s morale — that they were proud to be making meals for those on the front lines,” Atkinson said. “I realize that my little project won’t save the world, but for a brief moment, I had a little bit of control over my little bubble.”

Atkinson believes she’s probably tapped out her social media network for more donations. If she decides to continue this project, she’d probably seek corporate sponsorship that would allow her to distribute gift cards or perhaps establish direct deliveries from a restaurant to the hospital.

“This was a small project,” she acknowledged. “It took a lot of time, and there were moments where I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ But several people told me that they were inspired to do something similar in their own communities, which is the most I could have asked for. As this crisis continues, I urge you to remember all those struggling in your communities.”