Feeding The Heart in Atlanta
- Nov 20, 2019
Beck Group employee rallies community to donate to children and families at CHOA cardiac unit
For the third time since last Thanksgiving, Ben Dumas, a senior project coordinator in our Atlanta office, rallied his colleagues, family, and friends to donate food and money to Feed the Heart, a program created for the children and families of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).
After a few weeks of promoting the food and donation drive around The Beck Group’s office in Buckhead, and across its job sites in metro Atlanta, Dumas collected over $200 in donations and a two week supply of food for the pantry. Earlier this week, he and a few other colleagues dropped Beck’s second donation at the hospital (the third donation was from family and friends).
A Personal Connection
Dumas’ experience with Feed the Heart runs deeper than collecting food. He and his wife Phoebe used the nonprofit when their baby Benji had to undergo a pair of heart surgeries at CHOA when he was less than one year old.
“Feed the Heart provides warm meals as well as single-serving nonperishable food for patients and families in the cardiac unit. The hospital staff keeps a food pantry right there on the unit floor that is stocked by donors,” says Dumas.
For patients hospitalized in cardiac units, the wait time for treatment or a transplant can be days, weeks, or even months. For families, staying at the hospital with a loved one often means periods of stress, financial worry, and concern for the entire family.
To help these patients and their families, CHOA staff and parents serving on the Cardiac Family Advisory Council created Feed the Heart in 2015. It is a volunteer-based program that provides meals, snacks, and drinks for cardiac patients and their families during hospital stays.
Feed the Heart’s pantry is stocked at all times thanks to food and monetary donations, and warm meals provided by donors and volunteers are served every Tuesday night for all families in the cardiac unit.
Creating Moments of Normalcy During an Uncertain Time
Many patients and families at the hospital have not been home for weeks or even months, and routine activities like breakfast and dinner often become overlooked. Many have also traveled from out of town to be there and don’t have the option to go home, others are abruptly and unexpectedly sent to CHOA and are unprepared for an extended hospital stay.
Getting the chance to do something small, like sitting down to a warm meal, makes all the difference because it balances tough situations with moments of normalcy. “Being in the hospital is an incredibly stressful time – but even more so when you are there for your baby or child,” says Dumas.
It has been two and a half years since their time at CHOA, but the Dumas family will never forget their time there. “We are so thankful to everyone at the hospital and Feed the Heart for the support. By giving back, I hope that we can create a similar impact for other families in need.”
The staff uses donor funding to keep the pantry full, and they’re always accepting food donations, such as what we provided. To learn more about the organization or to donate, please visit Feed the Heart.