Meals for Heroes raised $76,000, served 16,000 meals to frontline health care workers fighting coronavirus

The partnership between UAB Advancement and the UAB Department of Food and Nutrition Services used gifts to place food orders with local restaurants and caterers to both support UAB’s health care providers and bolster the Birmingham economy.
Written by: Haley Herfurth
Media contact: Tyler Greer 


Videography: Tyler Greer and Carson Young

Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

A campaign to feed frontline health care workers caring for coronavirus patients raised more than $76,000 and served more than 16,000 meals in just fewer than five weeks. Meals for Heroes, which launched April 1, was a collaboration between the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Advancement office and the UAB Department of Food and Nutrition Services. It was created to feed health care providers and administrative staff at UAB hospitals and the remote COVID-19 testing site whose hours-long shifts and busy schedules often leave them no time to purchase food.

“The donation of meals through Meals for Heroes provided meals to lab personnel on April 20, during National Lab Appreciation Week,” said Sherry Polhill, associate vice president for Hospital Laboratories, Respiratory Care and Pulmonary Function Services at UAB Medicine. “UAB Hospital Labs appreciate the Birmingham community for their generosity and acts of service.”

UAB Football head coach Bill and Jennifer Clark, along with The Heart of Alabama Chevy Dealers, gave $10,000 to the campaign, which used gifts to place orders with local restaurants and caterers in an effort to help support community partners and bolster Birmingham businesses — many of whom provided in-kind meal donations, including Milo’s Tea Co., Jimmy John’s, Newk’s and many other restaurants. UAB Food Services worked with businesses to ensure specific food safety guidelines were met, and also served more than 5,800 meals to compassionate care caregivers.

“The outpouring of support from churches, synagogues, restaurants, businesses and individuals in our community has been amazing,” said Charlotte Beeker, associate vice president for Food, Nutrition and Guest Services at UAB Medicine. “The donations made by these groups and so many others to support the Meals for Heroes campaign just shows what a great community we live in. Our health care workers have been heroic in their efforts during this pandemic, and our community has been equally heroic in their flood of care and encouragement.”

When the Meals for Heroes campaign closed in early May, the remaining gift balance was $21,000, which Beeker says will be used to continue feeding health care workers caring for COVID-19 patients.