GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As hospital staff at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids work tirelessly to keep up with record-breaking RSV cases, the Corewell Health Foundation and a local chef stepped up to offer support.

“We wanted to do something a little bit special to make sure our team members know that the community is with them and standing behind them and so grateful for all of their efforts with all of our children,” Kelly Dyer, president of the Corewell Health (formerly Spectrum Health) Foundation, said.

The foundation partnered with Jenna Arcidiacono, owner of Amore Trattoria Italiana on Alpine Avenue north of Walker and founder of the nonprofit Food Hugs, to get a total of 800 meals delivered to morning and night shift nurses, doctors and technicians on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Chef Jenna Arcidiacono delivers meals to staff at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids on Nov. 23, 2022.
Chef Jenna Arcidiacono delivers meals to staff at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids on Nov. 23, 2022.

“My love language, the No. 1 love language, is feeding people,” Arcidiacono, who often goes by Chef Jenna, said. “And seeing that they enjoy it, of course, is nice, too. But sometimes people don’t get homemade food and so just to have someone think about you and cook for you, it just feels good.”

As of Tuesday morning, Helen DeVos was treating 49 intensive care unit patients and 51 RSV patients, 20 of whom were in the ICU. In the last week alone, the hospital saw 241 RSV cases total including inpatient, outpatient and emergency.

“The care that our kids receive and the support they give the families when their kids are here sometimes on a difficult journey, they just go above and beyond and we are just so grateful for them,” Dyer said.

Patients at the hospital also got a sweet surprise Wednesday morning thanks to the kindness of a former patient.

“My daughter was in the hospital over Thanksgiving one year and she missed the gatherings with family,” Elizabeth Ryzenga said. “The following year she just said that she didn’t want other kids to feel the way that she did and the thing she said she missed the most, aside from family, was the pie. She loves her dessert. So we came up with the idea that we would bring pie to the hospital.”

Each year, Ryzenga and her daughter Olivia raise money to buy pies from Russ’ to donate to the hospital. This year, they dropped off 124.

“Every year, the community comes together,” Ryzenga said.