While keeping six feet of distance, HCGH security department staff Jennifer Owusu-Sekyere and Elisha Taylor pick up food. (Photo: courtesy HCGH.)

Local restaurants have cooked more than 13,000 meals for staff at Howard County General Hospital (HCGH), an effort that supports the hospital and, at the same time, helps keeps the lights on for restaurants struggling to survive during the shut-down.

Twice a week, Jimmy John’s restaurants distributes 80 subs to hungry hospital workers, said Jimmy John’s owner Ted Louis. “It’s one way we can give back to the community.”

While Jimmy John’s donated the first round of subs, the parent of a Jimmy John’s employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, donated the second round of 80 subs.

“Not only is it helping the hospital workers but it’s also keeping some of my workers employed,” said Louis, who said that, while keeping the lights on at Jimmy John’s has been tough, generous donors and regular carryout customers have helped the sub shops stay alive.

Jimmy John’s is among 28 local restaurants supporting the hospital, an effort that began when the hospital invited restaurants who were already perennial supporters of the hospital to contribute meals.

“We worked with the Downtown Columbia Partnership to include restaurants in downtown Columbia that are still operating,” said Sharon Sopp, hospital spokesperson.

Other restaurants have come forward and offered to donate meals at no cost. And in some cases, corporations have offered to sponsor meals from a restaurant.

The Howard Hospital Foundation is managing a rotating schedule for the participating restaurants.

Donors are also supporting hospital workers through a COVID-19 Response fund.

Elizabeth Edsall Kromm, vice president of population health and advancement for Howard County General Hospital, said the hospital workers were grateful.

“During this difficult time, the hospital staff are so appreciative of the generosity of our local restaurants, as well as the community members who are donating to the COVID-19 Response fund,” said Kromm. “Our colleagues throughout the hospital have been going above and beyond to care for our community during this COVID-19 pandemic and it means the world to us to be recognized and cared for by our community.”

Sources said the best way to provide meals for staff at Howard County General Hospital is to make a financial contribution to the COVID-19 Response Fund:


For food donations, inquiries should be sent to [email protected].

By Susan Kim | Staff Writer | The Business Monthly