FARGO, N.D. – For kids at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, an injury or illness can mean days, weeks or months in the hospital. Everything changes for not only that child, but also their family. Normalcy falls to the wayside as parents and siblings adjust to accommodate the child in need.
Finding normalcy with dinnertime
The Sanford Children’s team works to create normalcy for the kids in the hospital, and one new initiative is bringing family dinners back to the forefront.
Fourteen Fargo metro restaurants are rotating delivering meals to the children’s hospital Monday through Friday to lessen the burden on families and help them come together for a meal. Participating restaurants include Blackbird Woodfire, Boiler Room, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Erberts & Gerberts, Great Plains Hospitality, Jimmy John’s, Noodles and Company, Old Chicago, Pizza Ranch, Spicy Pie, Twist, Uncle Maddio’s and VIP Catering.
Sanford Children’s leadership team, including pediatric surgeon Scott Engum, M.D., recognized a need and spearheaded the initiative.
“Here at the hospital our goal is always to place kids first,” Engum said. “We know that many local businesses are also passionate about the health and well-being of the children in our community. This partnership allows those businesses to help families in a way that makes such a difference.”
While the hospital staff can focus on the child’s health needs, these meals offer the family a sense of normalcy among the needles, procedures, aches and pains.
Helping families in need
Jerdene Reeves has found a new normal. After going on bedrest in December 2017, she delivered her little boy Matthias on Jan. 11, 2018, at 30 weeks. With the early delivery, Matthias has spent his first weeks in Sanford Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). He is not yet strong enough to go home to East Grand Forks, Minnesota, so Reeves spends her days in Fargo at the hospital.
“It’s challenging, but I look at the end result,” Reeves said. “He’s going to be healthy, and it’ll all be worth it.”
Grateful for community support
Reeves is just one of the many parents who is grateful for these meals.
“I really appreciate it because it allows me to stay up in the NICU to be close to my baby, but I can still grab something to eat,” Reeves said.
But it’s more than just having a meal to eat.
“It’s like they understand what we’re going through. When you’re here, you’re not working and may not have the finances to go out to eat, so it’s nice to know they’re thinking about us as a whole when they bring food in to people they don’t even know,” she said.
The local support for the kids and families extends beyond food to provide a caring voice and a welcome gesture.
“They don’t just drop the food off and leave. They’ll tell you to enjoy and have a nice day, and that’s nice to hear,” Reeves said. “It lets us know that they’re here for us.”
“We’re thankful for a community that continually gives and offers support to the kids and families at Sanford Children’s,” Engum said. “We cannot thank these restaurants enough for what they give to these families. It’s more than just food. It’s a chance to stay close to their little ones and enjoy mealtime as a family.”