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Despite its own struggles, the St. Louis food scene is supporting healthcare workers

“In times like this, there are just some things you do because it’s the right thing to do.”

ST. LOUIS — Local business owners aren’t on the front lines themselves, but many are helping feed the fight.

For the past few weeks, Tamara Keefe and the crew at Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery have been delivering pints of their award-winning ice cream to hospitals and first responders — quietly, not for publicity — to say thanks.

“It's just something to show our gratitude and say thank you for all those men and women who are working and, quite frankly, putting their lives on the line every day to be there, to serve us, to take care of us. If the little bit that we can do is bring ice cream to bring them joy, that's perfect for us,” she said. “In times like this, there are just some things you do because it’s the right thing to do.”

READ MORE: These St. Louis businesses are offering deals for essential workers

The Banh Mi Shop on The Loop in University City was open less than two months when the city ordered restaurants close dining rooms to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Along with their takeout service, they’ve also donated and delivered more than 120 lunches to healthcare workers in the last week — with plans for more to come.

Chao Baan in The Grove is offering a 20% discount to all healthcare workers— it’s the same as their employee discount.

Hot Box Cookies locations in Clayton, Tower Grove and the Central West End are giving customers the option to order cookies to healthcare workers that they’ll then deliver to hospitals for free.

Seoul Taco in The Grove, Chesterfield and University City wants to help feed whole departments: their online order form allows you to sponsor meals for up to 50 healthcare workers. Across their locations in St. Louis and Chicago, they will even work to coordinate after-hours deliveries for the many healthcare workers who don’t keep normal business hours.

“Fulfilling that need, it also fills another need internally, which is our staff who are just lacking hours,” said David Choi, founder of Seoul Taco. “We have yet to let go any of our staff so far, and I want to keep that as long as possible.”

RELATED: Donate a meal from Seoul Taco to health care workers

It’s mutually beneficial. Keefe said she believes so many small businesses are stepping up even in their own time of need because the city itself relies on that same type of relationship.

“We live in this amazing city, right? That is so good to so many of us small businesses,” she said. “We can’t do it without each other, and we have to take care of each other.”

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