Fresno nurse Tali Whelan found herself in a situation that is all-too familiar to millions of people across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic: temporarily out of a job.
With the extra time on her hands, she turned her attention to helping medical professionals.
In March, Whelan came across an article about someone in New Jersey who started Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG), which is dedicated to providing meals to the front line workers.
Whelan saw an opportunity to help out medical professionals and local restaurants, which are currently unable to allow in-person dining.
“I just wanted to do something to give back to the community, particularly small businesses like these locally owned restaurants and do something nice for health care providers as well,” Whelan said.
With a background as a dermatology nurse, Whelan feels for the health care professionals currently working during the pandemic.
“I’ve worked the long 12-hour shifts,” Whelan said.
“I know what it’s like, and I wanted to make my fellow health care workers feel appreciated as well as help out these small businesses that are going through such a difficult time right now.”
Since Whelan launched the Central Valley FLAG chapter, the local organization has provided over 2,000 meals to health care workers and has raised more than $18,000 dollars.
FLAG Central Valley has delivered meals throughout the region, and Whelan has partnered with locally-owned restaurants in several different cities.
Within the last month, Whelan partnered with United Health Centers to deliver meals to frontline rural healthcare workers, such as those in Sanger, Selma and Mendota, along with a delivery to Parlier scheduled for Tuesday.
FLAG is also getting in the personal protective equipment game.
Nurse Angel Network – a nonprofit organization that provides health care workers with PPE – reached out to Whelan to partner with FLAG.
On Tuesday, FLAG and Nurse Angel Network plan to deliver 80 meals and 1,000 face shields to Golden Living Center, a nursing home in downtown Fresno that has reported positive cases of COVID-19.
FLAG is run solely by donations.
The best way for anyone interested in helping Whelan and FLAG is to visit www.flagcv.org.