SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Kindness and compassion during a crisis. An ArkLaTex restaurant went above and beyond to help ensure that our healthcare workers were taken care of during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the moment the coronavirus outbreak started, the Panda Express restaurants in Shreveport and Bossier City worked together to donate food and supplies to frontline workers and staffers at CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier who were front and center during the fight against the virus.
The company typically will ask its customers if they would be willing to round up their bill to the nearest dollar, donating that money to our area Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
“I get goose bumps thinking about how we’ve raised nearly $90,000 for CMN,” said Marenda Smith, general manager at
Panda Express’ Bossier City location. “Every time I see how many masks we’ve been able to donate. That’s amazing.”
The restaurant has handed out 600 meals to hospitals throughout Shreveport, Bossier City and Coushatta. It’s also donated 20,000 surgical and N95 masks to healthcare workers.
“I’m committed to helping my community. Whether that means financially, with food, time, just showing that I’m here to support in any way that I can.”
Paige Cox is a child life specialist at CHRISTUS who also has doubled as a volunteer coordinator during a time when the hospital has seen an outpouring of support. Seeing the community deliver hot meals and supplies to staff members who sometimes work 12-14 hours at a time has been amazing, she said.
“For me to be on the receiving end of all the donations that have come through and then to be able to see the excitement and the gratitude, the overwhelming thankfulness from our staff, that our community stopped to think about them. It’s incredible.”
CHRISTUS has been fortunate that the hospital hasn’t seen a shortage of PPE due to the community’s generosity, Cox said.
“I think it’s through the tireless work of our management but also community and corporate sponsorships, just like Panda, who’ve said we’re dedicated and we’re going to provide the resources necessary.
"Whenever you don't have to worry about making sure that your basic necessities are met, to make sure that you're safe, simply making sure that you have the right equipment to do your job. That's just one less thing that you have to worry about. One less thing that we have to be concerned with."
The money raised by Panda Express, when asking customers to round up their bill, goes to help Children’s Miracle Network programs with things like medical equipment and treatment.