The power of food in a time of need

How one gift is pulling double duty, providing meals for front-line workers while supporting hard-hit local businesses

Good food brings people together. So does the mission of saving lives. Wallace & Graham PA has found an innovative way to combine the two while supporting local Salisbury restaurants. 

Since April 1, the Salisbury-based law practice has provided lunches for about 25 team members at the respiratory assessment center at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, where drive-by COVID-19 testing is being conducted. The meals have come primarily from small businesses in downtown Salisbury, such as Sidewalk Deli and Go Burrito.

“It certainly made sense that they not have to go out in the middle of their shifts and try to worry about what they’re eating or drinks or whatever they might need,” said Mona Lisa Wallace, a partner at Wallace & Graham. “We decided that this would be a wonderful project for us to support them — providing their meals during this time when they are giving so much of themselves, while also helping downtown Salisbury and the local restaurants who have been suffering financially because of COVID-19.”

The meals have been a welcome morale boost for the staff, who are performing dozens of tests a day in all kinds of weather conditions. Many are living away from home to avoid spreading the virus to their families. To date, their gift has totaled more than $10,000.

“This is a big stress reducer and an opportunity for team members to have levity and fun during their break,” said Rick Parker, executive director of the Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Foundation. “We really appreciate Wallace & Graham volunteering to do this.”

The firm has deep roots in Rowan County and with the Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Foundation. It also has a keen interest in medical screening in the community. “It’s always been a goal of ours to improve healthcare and to make it more affordable for people in this county,” Wallace said.

Notably, the firm and the Wallace family provided the lead gifts in the foundation’s ongoing capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art treatment center that consolidates all Novant Health Rowan Medical Center cancer services into one beautiful facility at a convenient location. The Wallace Cancer Institute, which is slated to open its doors in August, will provide leading-edge treatment and personalized, patient-centered care, particularly for women with breast cancer.

“The Wallace Cancer Institute is going to be a magnet for cancer treatment in our community, in that you can stay local and receive the best care in the country,” said Bill Graham, a partner at Wallace & Graham and chairman of the Rowan Medical Center Foundation Board. “Here, you’re going to be a name and a person, not a number.”