Like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mackenize Ball wanted to find a way to thank medical staff for their services.
“One morning I just woke up and I said, ‘You know, I should start a fundraiser and try to give back to local restaurants and also medical staff,’” Ball said.
The Oak Harbor resident formed a GoFundMe campaign titled “Thank You Friday” earlier this month. By collecting funds as the organizer, Ball has been purchasing meals every Friday from Oak Harbor restaurants and delivering them to the staff of medical centers and assisted living facilities.
Ball said she has been choosing smaller North Whidbey restaurants that may not be receiving a lot of business currently.
So far, Ball said she has supported Noe Jose Cafe, AB’s Hillbilly Gyros and Orlando’s Fish and Grill. She and her girlfriend purchase and deliver the meals.
“It’s kind of like a two-woman show,” Ball said with a laugh.
She asks people on the community Facebook pages where they would like the meals to go. With their input, she has given meals to Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor, Island Hospital in Anacortes and WhidbeyHealth in Coupeville.
Ball has also delivered meals to the staff of HomePlace and Welcome Home Senior Memory Center, both in Oak Harbor.
Ball said it’s made her happy to see the smiles above the masks.
Initially she set a goal on the GoFundMe page for $1,000, which would cover about a month’s worth of meals. It has since raised over $1,500, and Ball said they would like to continue helping medical staff and local restaurants as long as funds are still coming in.
In total, 135 medical staff members have been served Friday meals. This week will be the fourth Thank You Friday.
“We’re really grateful to the community for giving back and we’d really like that to continue,” Ball said.
The page for the “Thank You Friday” meal campaign can be accessed at www.gofundme.com/f/thank-you-friday.