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San Francisco family helps restaurants, frontline workers with unique gift card project

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A San Francisco family has created a project with three big community goals: supporting restaurants, supporting nurses, and teaching their children and others in the neighborhood that positive things can come out of negative situations, even a pandemic. 

“During this fragile time in our world I wanted our kids, my kids and our community children to all remember something positive from this experience,” Shawna Gohel tells KRON4.

Parents Shawna and Anand Gohel wanted their children’s memories of the 2020 pandemic to be about more than fear and sadness, closed schools and businesses, masks and social distancing.

The family project is called Feed the Frontline. 

Shawna set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy restaurant gift cards. 

“My heart immediately went to the restaurants because they are such a vibrant defining part of our city,” Shawna said.

The Gohel’s seven-year-old son Alexander, five-year-old daughter Vivienne, with help from children in their Presidio Heights neighborhood, write notes of gratitude for the nurses.

The parents get the supplies, like envelopes and stickers, and the children do the work putting everything together.

“I buy $1,000 worth of gift cards from a restaurant in $50.00 increments and then we give the gift cards to our local nurses,” Shawna explains.

Stella Roller is co-owner of Boho Restaurant. 

“It was like an angel from God and I will tell you why. We were sitting with my partner chef and thinking how we going to pay our bills,” Roller said. “It’s a big moral help and support.”

The restaurant gift cards are added to the notes from the children and then given to the nurses at Sutter CPMC. 

“To know that a young child age seven is a being educated about what is going on in this world and doing a nice heartwarming card really made me feel good,” said nurse Christine Ryerson.

Ryerson is a neonatal intensive care nurse. 

“The card a sweet first grader made for me was great and wrote a joke that made everyone laugh a little bit,” Ryerson said.   

“This time has been great because it gives them a sense of purpose and every day we try  to work on this a little bit,” Anand said. “They get very excited to put gift cards and these beautiful envelopes together and see the pictures of the nurses.”

Shawna says the project is accomplishing just what she had hoped. 

“I just feel like seeing their joy in all of this and finding those moments of sunshine in such a crazy period for the world has been uplifting our family,” Shawna said.

100% of the money raised goes to buy the restaurant gift cards.

The GoFundMe has raised more than $12,000 so far and ten restaurants have benefited from the $1,000 gift cards.

If you’d like to help or get advice from Shawna on how to do the same thing for frontline workers and restaurants in your community, click here.

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