The team at Lisa Dupar Catering has found hearty entree salad and sandwich combinations to be the most effective for the meals they prepare for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

The team at Lisa Dupar Catering has found hearty entree salad and sandwich combinations to be the most effective for the meals they prepare for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

By Hannah Sheil

UW News Lab

A new program is providing free meals for first responders who are operating COVID-19 testing sites across King County.

The three testing sites — in Seattle, Shoreline, and Covington — are dedicated to testing the area’s first responders as required by their agencies.

The first responder-designated sites come after limited access to testing hindered emergency medical services’ ability to serve their communities safely, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a prepared statement on March 19.

Gratitude Meals, a donation-funded initiative by the Medic One Foundation, are hearty lunches being given to the first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

“It provides relief from the stress of dealing with the virus,” foundation executive director Jan Sprake said. “It lets them worry about more important things at the time instead of having to worry about food.”

Gratitude Meals began after staff at the foundation identified the need to support the workers staffing the sites, a necessary task to ensure efficient operations, Sprake said. Providing meals guarantees workers are fed and nourished and removes the need to pre-pack their food or find a meal nearby.

More than 500 meals are scheduled to be delivered by the end of April.

The Medic One Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle and Bellevue, supports the region’s first response emergency medical system through fundraising, training and researching new methods of out-of-hospital patient care.

James Gasser with Lisa Dupar Catering prepares sandwiches, part of the boxed lunches that will be delivered to first responders working at COVID-19 testing sites. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

James Gasser with Lisa Dupar Catering prepares sandwiches, part of the boxed lunches that will be delivered to first responders working at COVID-19 testing sites. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

While the Gratitude Meals is feeding first responders at COVID-19 testing sites, local restaurants and caterers are benefiting too.

Lisa Dupar, a Redmond chef and business owner, is one of the people partnering with the Medic One Foundation to provide meals.

Dupar owns and operates Redmond-based Pomegranate Bistro and Lisa Dupar Catering, both of which she said are being financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

“It’s been pretty devastating,” Dupar said. “The industry — the whole event industry, I should say — just got the rug pulled out from under their feet.”

She said she is staying positive, choosing to focus on creative solutions to continue to serve customers while also partnering with local support efforts such as the Gratitude Meals program.

The Medic One Foundation is also partnering with Gourmondo, a Seattle caterer and cafe company, to provide boxed lunches for the first responder tester staff.

Dan Kiley, executive chef at Lisa Dupar Catering, prepares Mediterranean salads for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Dan Kiley, executive chef at Lisa Dupar Catering, prepares Mediterranean salads for Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals program. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Planning meals means more than merely picking food. Dupar’s staff must carefully plan meals that can be individually packaged, consumed without an oven or microwave and last for a set amount of time after delivery. Her team has found hearty entree salad and sandwich combinations to be the most effective, with each boxed lunch totaling about $15, she said.

Once they are ready, the meals are delivered to staff at the three COVID-19 testing sites. Nurses with the Puget Sound Fire CARES program initially staffed the sites, but now other first responder personnel are taking on the duty, Capt. Joe Root, public information officer for Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, said.

Some of the Gratitude Meals donors have included notes to accompany their meal purchase, Sprake said.

“Thank you for tirelessly and selflessly working every day to keep all of us safe,” reads one of the messages.

Fresh sandwiches and cookies are individually wrapped before being placed in boxes and delivered to first responders. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Fresh sandwiches and cookies are individually wrapped before being placed in boxes and delivered to first responders. Photo courtesy of Hannah Sheil

Dupar has continued to see generosity expressed in a multitude of ways. The support comes from long-time customers who continue to support her business through take-out, bags of food assembled for Seattle school-age children, and the donors who have supported programs like Gratitude Meals.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff set up helping a lot of people out there,” Dupar said. “People are really, really being very generous.”

Hannah Sheil is a journalism student currently enrolled in the University of Washington’s News Laboratory.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

A monthly column about the King County Library System.

Earth Month 2020 and COVID-19

A Waste Management column about caring for the planet and each other.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Courtesy photo. Scott Brittain and his son Ryker at Blake’s Pizzeria in Carnation (before state regulations for COVID-19 mandated restaurants switch to takeout only). Scott has been a customer since he was a kid, and now he and his family are still regulars.
In Carnation, Blake’s carries on with carryout

Community supports local pizzeria during COVID-19 pandemic.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

From left, Kristen Zuray, Wendy Laxton and Tonya Guinn speak at Trail Youth’s 2019 birthday celebration fundraiser. This year their annual event is a banquet scheduled for April 4. Courtesy photo
Trail Youth celebrates a year of coffee, positivity

Trail Youth banquet fundraiser scheduled for April 4.

MSHS jazz band invited to Essentially Ellington for sixth time

MSHS is one of 18 finalists for the prestigious competition

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Ralphs family after their home along the Raging River was yellow-tagged. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Ralphs Family GoFundMe page
Family of four forced to leave home along Raging River in Preston

Erosion has deemed the house yellow-tagged by King County services.