With thousands of people in the Western Communities still hunkering down in their homes while practicing social distancing, area healthcare workers continue to put their own lives at risk every day providing care and medical treatment to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tommy Caraccia, owner of Two Twisted Italians, a restaurant located off Southern Boulevard next to Dick’s Sporting Goods in West Palm Beach, wanted to show his appreciation to those workers. He decided that the best way to do that was doing what he does best – provide food.
So Caraccia, along with one of his restaurant’s regular customers, combined to donate 40 pizzas to healthcare workers at Wellington Regional Medical Center Friday, May 7.
Not only did the pizzas come topped with gobs of cheese, pepperoni, sausage and assorted veggies, they each came with an extra helping of appreciation.
“My wife is an ER doctor in Jupiter and I see first hand how hard these brave heroes on the front lines work,” Caraccia said. “These healthcare workers are there for us in our time of extreme need, stress and when we are at our worst. We’re quick to complain about things, but not enough of us stop to say thank you for their unrelenting efforts.”
The idea to donate pizzas came about when Caraccia and a customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, were discussing ways they could help.
“When I mentioned that I wanted to donate pizzas to the healthcare workers at Wellington Regional, one of my best customers wanted to match my donation, so instead of 20 pies, we’re giving away 40 of them,” said Caraccia.
The pies, delivered soon after the night shift began on May 7, were more than enough to feed the 170 workers, comprised of nurses, lab techs, radiologists, maintenance techs and others.
According to Pam Tahan, Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO, the pizzas were just one more way the community has rallied behind these healthcare heroes.
“The way the community has responded to Wellington Regional during the Covid pandemic has been both humbling and inspiring,” Tahan said. “It is a reflection of the generosity of the community that Wellington Regional is proud to support.”
For more than a month now, businesses and organizations including Trader Joe’s, the Rotary Club of Wellington, Delicias Cuban Bakery, Chic-fil-A, Great American Cookies and Wycliffe Golf & Country Club have donated meals and other treats to the Wellington Regional staff. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue held a drive-by in April to pay tribute, and the Village of Wellington and Schaefer Drugs helped fill Wellington Regional’s lobby with beautiful handmade thank you cards created by local students.
“When our staff is working so hard, the donations of food, the outpouring of appreciation or the even the delivering of support cards made by children go a long way toward increasing the morale of the hospital staff,” Tahan added.
Starting Monday, May 11, Palm Beach County restaurants will be able to open for restricted indoor seating, which is good news for Caraccia. Until social distancing guidelines ease further and economic conditions improve enough to hire back staff, Caraccia and his Executive Chef Robert are working hard to keep the doors of his Italian restaurant open.
“Robert and I fight like husband and wife. In fact, I call him my work wife,” Caraccia said. “I couldn’t have done this without him, and it’s our honor to provide these hospital workers with pizza to help keep them nourished.”
And with this being National Hospital Week, what better time is there to give away some hot pizza pies?
Pictured above: Right, Tommy Caraccia, owner of Two Twisted Italians Restaurant, drops off 40 large pizzas to Wellington Regional Medical Center on Friday, May 8, 2020.