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Salt Lake Restaurant Chain Provides Free Meals To Healthcare Workers

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A small chain of restaurants in Salt Lake County have found a way to put aside their own business losses and focus on a deserving group of people, providing free meals to local healthcare workers.

“It’s our gratitude to thank them who are struggling every day,” said Harsh Kamal, who manages Saffran Valley’s Sugarhouse restaurant location.

Like many of its competitors, Saffron Valley’s revenue has dropped about 70-percent over the last couple of weeks, as more and more people have been avoiding crowds following the Governor’s “no dine-in” order. The loss in business has forced some small businesses to close and millions of Americans to lose their jobs.

“We are all struggling these days,” Kamal said.

Yet even in their time of need, employees at Saffron Valley’s four restaurants have found a way to look beyond their own needs, and recognize the efforts of others. They called it their “Keep Calm and Curry on” initiative.

“I think it’s awesome that they’re doing this,” said Cindy Gellner, a pediatrician at the nearby University of Utah campus.

Gellner was one of several healthcare workers who waited in the parking lot outside of the Sugarhouse location on Thursday, waiting for the free meal.

“I ordered additional food for my entire family because I think if someone’s going to support healthcare workers, we should support them too,” she said.

“We’ve been very busy increasing our capacity to absorb a surge,” said Toby Enniss, a trauma surgeon at the U of U.

Enniss admitted that working in a hospital these days carries a greater risk of exposure, which can make healthcare workers feel a bit more isolated.

“Personally, neighbors, friends and family have been a little more distant,” he said.

That only made the offer to enjoy a free chicken tikka wrap, cookie and fountain drink more inviting.

“It means a lot to have somebody reach out and want to say thank you,” Enniss said.

“We’re still only dependent on takeout and we are trying to put smiles on each and everyone’s face,” Kamal said.

It’s a good reminder that sometimes the best relief from trying times is to say thank you and give back.

The free meal for healthcare workers ends Sunday, March 29. Kamal said they planned to do something similar for grocery workers the following week.

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