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Horseshoe Bay neighborhood helps feed hospital staff

Horseshoe Bay neighborhood donates meal to Marble Falls hospital

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls staff get ready to enjoy Holy Smokes BBQ breakfast tacos donated by The Trails neighborhood in Horseshoe Bay. Courtesy photo

The Trails neighborhood of Horseshoe Bay ensured the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center staffs in Marble Falls, Llano, and Kingsland had a great start to Good Friday.

At 6:30 a.m. April 10, staff enjoyed breakfast tacos prepared by Holy Smokes BBQ of Marble Falls and purchased using donations from residents of The Trails. Those living in the neighborhood wanted to let medical professionals know they’re appreciated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those hospital staff members don’t know what’s going to walk in the door,” said Sandy Olson, a meal organizer and a resident of The Trails. “It’s something to say, ‘Hey, we’re here for you, we appreciate you.’”

Holy Smokes prepared enough tacos to feed 250 staff members.

Olson got the idea after receiving an email from Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation specialist Lori Sipos-Mollo, who requested that board members help in whatever way the could.

“(Hospital officials) were looking for anything,” said Olson, who serves on the board. “They were taking donations, they were writing thank-you cards, making videos, anything that’s supportive. I thought about food.”

Olson realized her neighborhood could help in two ways: feeding a hospital staff and making a purchase from a local restaurant that’s lost revenue because of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

She sent messages to her neighbors about what she wanted to do.

“The answer was an overwhelming ‘yes,’” she said. “We have enough money to do this again. It’s amazing. They dropped envelopes on my front porch.”

To help Olson and Sipos-Mollo narrow down the best time to feed hospital staff, Olson contacted Karen Eaton, administrative assistant at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls. 

“It’s a very organized schedule,” Sipos-Mollo said. “(Eaton) arranges it so it’s equally spread out so everyone gets something.”

Eaton thought the best time to feed the staff was at shift change at 6:30 a.m.

Holy Smokes BBQ said they could meet the need at that time.

Sipos-Mollo said the hospital staff has been adapting, even with only six confirmed cases in Burnet County and three in Llano County.

“They’re all preparing for whatever,” she said. “Obviously, we’re praying the surge doesn’t come. We have to live and breathe like it’s here.”

Staff members are constantly cross training, she said, and some are working more hours to offset some colleagues who have had shift changes because their home lives call for it. They have school-age children who are not in classes right now and are learning at home, she added.

“We’re all on the same page,” she said. “Those people are working long hours. Every department is key.”

Highland Lakes residents can support the Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation by giving online. People can even direct donations to a particular medical center.

Olson said part of her role is to keep her neighbors aware of what’s happening at the hospital.

“Our neighborhood is small and close-knit,” she said. “Everybody is supportive. It’s satisfying to know people will step up when there’s a need, and it’s very humbling, too.”

For more on how COVID-19 is affecting the Highland Lakes, visit the coronavirus resources webpage.