A “True” community effort to help health care heroes

Amy during one of her many meal deliveries to Advocate Sherman Hospital

To say that Amy True Flota is driven would be an understatement. She takes the concept to a whole new level, and at no time was it more evident than in the early weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of my coworkers challenged me and asked me what I was going to do to help,” explained Amy, an agent with New York Life Insurance in Elgin, IL.

So, Amy prayed about how she could help, then reached out to a friend who is a doctor at Advocate Sherman Hospital and asked what team members needed.

“At the time, the hospital cafeterias were closed, and people didn’t want to leave the hospital to get food because they had to go through so many safety checks to get back in. So, I decided to figure out how to feed team members.”

Amy has an extensive local network and reached out to everyone she knew for help.

“People always have something to offer, whether it’s time, talent or treasure,” she said. “And I’m not afraid to ask my friends and acquaintances for help.”

She collected cash and started reaching out to local restaurants.

“Every week, I’d tell them how much money I had and asked how many meals they could give me. They were fantastic to work with and more than willing to help.”

Amy started out with the COVID-19 floor. She delivered snacks for the entire week every Thursday and two meals every Saturday and Sunday. Then she started feeding other departments and even adjusted her delivery schedule to make sure the night shift wasn’t left out.

Word about her efforts began to spread in the community.

“Restaurants started donating meals, and the landlords of restaurants started donating cash for the cause. A couple of churches gave, and an orthodontist set up a matching gift challenge,” she shared.

In addition to meals, Amy also collected donations for snacks.

Amy is amazed at the range of people who wanted to help.

“I had a friend from church who’s on a fixed budget, and he gave $85 from his pension each month. That’s the stuff that really gets me. Everyone gave what they could and gave from their heart.”

In all, she ended up raising $13,000 and delivered more than 2,500 meals over the course of four months. But she shies away from taking credit for her efforts.

“Don’t thank me. The truth is I have a really cool network of people I’m surrounded by that made this happen,” said Amy. “I feel so fortunate to have been involved. I formed some amazing friendships. It was very inspiring and very special.”

How you can help

The cafeterias are back open, and we are no longer in need of food donations, but there are many ways to help our team members, patients and their families. To get started, visit our COVID-19 online resource center.

We are so grateful to Amy and everyone else who was involved in these incredible efforts to help our health care heroes. We’d also like to thank New York Life Insurance for helping families who have suffered a loss due to the pandemic. Learn more about its Brave of Heart Fund here.