Lily DeMovellan of Stockbridge, at left, and Abbey Boyd of West Stockbridge – both students at Monument Mountain Regional High School -- with their cart of foods and all-organic hand balm for hard-working healthcare workers at the Hillcrest Campus of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass.

Meals and messages: Two students provide nourishment for Berkshire healthcare workers

We provided 110 wraps from Guido’s Fresh Marketplace to every staff member at the Cancer Center in Pittsfield.

In March 2020 we all witnessed as the world shut down due to the Coronavirus. The first few weeks were surreal, the feeling of helplessness and no control was overwhelming. However, every night the news would end with an uplifting story and remind us that even in crisis people still can find the silver lining.

Abbey Boyd.

My mom, Ellen Boyd, is always encouraging me to do more and during these first few weeks, I had no idea how I could do that while quarantined. When she came to me with the idea of providing food to the hospitals, similar to what we were seeing in other areas, it all clicked. This was going to be the project that gave me a purpose during this weird, scary, and unknown time. I knew how lucky I was to be young and healthy but I also was aware that not everyone had the same circumstances. Within two days, I had a contact at Berkshire Medical Center and a wonderful partner who would be there through everything, Lily DeMovellan.

In a week we had raised over $1,000 and created a video of smiling faces from around the Berkshires expressing their gratitude to every healthcare worker. From this money, we delivered 60 sandwiches from Gorman and Norton in Great Barrington to the hospital. Jen Bailey, who is head of Patient Relations at BMC, has been amazing with every donation. Seeing her smiling face at the door every week is something we both look forward to. As our fundraiser grew and we talked to Jen we realized how many outlets we had to make a difference. At every delivery we discussed what the staff needed. In the beginning meals were the most common request, however as the pandemic developed and hours spent in the hospital lengthened other resources were requested. Soon we delivered snacks from BOLA granola, providing a quick energy boost for those who needed extra fuel after countless hours in the hospital. Jen also explained that at the end of 14-plus hour day healthcare workers’ faces are dry and chapped from wearing masks.

Lily DeMovellan.

Monica Celli, Lily’s mom, makes an all-organic balm called “bellixer.” This balm can be used all over the healthcare workers’ chapped faces and hands. While helping the hospital staff, it was also helping to support Monica and her local, small business. With the help not only of Monica but also of many other small businesses around Berkshire county, we have been able to help to provide the hospitals and all of its highly generous staff with the nutrition they need.

As of now we have raised $2,610 and reached more people than we had imagined. Recently, we partnered with The Denise Kaley Fund for Berkshire County Women with Cancer. We provided 110 wraps from Guido’s Fresh Marketplace to every staff member at the Cancer Center in Pittsfield. As we know COVID-19 targets individuals with compromised immune systems. Cancer treatments can make a patient’s immune system extremely weak and prone to other viruses. The BMC Hillcrest Campus provides a safe and clean space for cancer patients to go and receive treatment throughout their battle. This delivery was a reminder to us that although the world has momentarily stopped due to COVID-19, the fight against cancer continues.

We look forward to our future deliveries in the next few weeks! We want to emphasize that together we can defeat this terrible virus and our community supports each other. Thank you to every essential worker and to all of you who have supported us through this fundraiser. We are still collecting donations and messages of gratitude from the community.

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Editor’s note: Abbey Boyd is an upcoming junior and Lily DeMovellan an upcoming sophomore, both at Monument Mountain Regional High School. Abbey lives in West Stockbridge and Lily lives in Stockbridge. They have grown up in the Berkshires and together have loved being able to help the community.