Fletcher Horne, 16, of Laurel, Mississippi, a sophomore at Laurel Christian School, arranged to provide more than 1,300 hot meals for hospital and nursing home workers to thank them for their dedication and sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because his father is a doctor and chief medical officer at a local hospital, “our family has had a front-row seat to the toll COVID-19 can have on healthcare workers,” said Fletcher. One morning, his dad bought donuts for his ICU nursing staff and told Fletcher how appreciative they were. “I started thinking about what I could do to help in a similar way,” he said. Before long, he had developed a plan to purchase hot meals from restaurants that were struggling and deliver them to South Central Regional Medical Center and two nursing homes.
Fletcher set up a GoFundMe to solicit donations, and received $5,000 in just 24 hours. He opened a checking account to manage the funds, and approached local restaurants, which eagerly agreed to provide meals at a reduced price. He then recruited fellow students and 10 adult volunteers to make contactless deliveries to on-duty hospital and nursing home staff. Local news coverage of Fletcher’s “Feed the Frontline” project kept donations flowing in, and made him a local celebrity. “I couldn’t go anywhere without people thanking me for starting this project,” he said. In the end, Fletcher raised more than $12,000 from 177 donors, which enabled him to not only make 24 meal deliveries, but also donate $5,000 to the hospital’s healthcare foundation.