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April 14, 2020

Melissa Madonni Haims’ Philly Family COVID Fund: Door to Door Altruism with Great Social Distancing

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Elizabeth Roan

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While having coffee one morning, Josh Haims came downstairs and said to his wife Melissa Madonni Haims, “Hey, why don’t we call up Campbell’s,” one of their favorite local restaurants, “and see if they can make dinner for the police department tonight.” Thirty minutes passed, Josh came back down and asked Melissa what her thoughts were.
”It’s already been done,” she says, “I made the order.”
Having realized his idea was already in motion, Josh frantically asked, “who’s going to pay for this?” To which Melissa answered with an immediate, very instinctive,” we are!” From there, their one good deed has spread nearly tenfold.
Since the Haims’ act of kindness–and coincidentally learning their group of friends were all about to do their own bit of good deeds as well–it has culminated into what is now called the Philly Family COVID Fund. With a set goal of $50,000, they were able to raise $6,000 in just four days. All of the funds are used to purchase meals directly from the community’s beloved local restaurants, then delivered to front line workers and nearby neighbors in need; sometimes Grandma doesn’t know how to use Instacart!
Since then, the Philly Family COVID Fund has partnered with its local restaurants to serve their community. They delivered lunch to 40 staff members at the Philabundance Warehouse in South Philadelphia with the help of Amy Edelman at the Night Kitchen Bakery and to 30 staff members at the Philabundance warehouse in North Philadelphia, where they were treated to a BBQ boxed lunch made by Michael Lepore from Lepore Ba Q. They’ve delivered 150 loaves of fresh-baked bread from Baker Street to help the Stenton Family Manor in East Germantown. A pizza party was thrown for the Roxborough Home for Women for their 35 residents and staff with the help of Lindsey Pete and her staff at Chestnut Hill Brewing Company. For Chestnut Hill Meals on Wheels, they just collected non-perishables, bar/pump soap, and toilet paper to give to more than 100 seniors. At Face to Face in Germantown with the help of a local Caterer, Gabriella Massaglia, they were able to feed 150 people. Right now, they are gearing up to feed 70 families and the 5 staff members from the Boys and Girls Clubs in Germantown who live in the Abbottsford Homes in East Falls. Pizza and salads will be coming from Fiesta Pizza 3 in Chestnut Hill.
But it doesn’t stop there! Haims, a working textile artist, is also sewing masks to distribute to essential workers and healthcare professionals. When asked how she does it all, “I am finally realizing what it means to build the plane while flying it!” she says with exasperated cheerfulness. She created masks with her sewing machine using a shared template.
At the core, what drives such an immense act of kindness? When we are being told as a nation to stay put, with growing anxiety stemming from non-stop ever-changing news, CDC recommendations, the grim statistics, we are also faced with an even more grim fact: there is nothing we can do. We cannot cure, just merely stay inside to buy our researchers time. We cannot properly comfort our bereaved friends from a brief 6-foot distance. But with the efforts of people like Melissa and Josh, we can give a little bit of what we have to those who need it; whether it be a meal for one or enough to feed an army, a crafty hand at sewing, or a re-claimed use of materials and essential items. We can pay it forward, even from indoors. With rising numbers in good deeds for one another, large or small, that’s a curve worth going up.
Philly Family COVID Fund is still looking for contributors and collaborators! If you:
-know of any shelters or agencies in need
-have any connections with your favorite local restaurants
– have the hookup on great food about to be wasted or thrown out
– know of any stores, restaurants, or bars  who want to help

you can email The Philly Family COVID Fund at their new address And keep up with their amazing efforts by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Or if you are able to financially support, any amount can be donated here.
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