Great Harvest Bread Co. donates lunches to hospital with help of customers

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From left, Jacquelyn Horton, RN, director of emergency services of Temecula Valley Hospital, and Cori Cole, RN, emergency department manager of TVH, receives lunches for the emergency department donated by Darin Carlson, owner of Great Harvest Bread Co. in Temecula. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

According to Darin Carlson, head baker and owner of Great Harvest Bread Company in Temecula, idea to hand out food lunches to Temecule Valley Hospitial’s emergency service medical personnel began with desire to help their community, something the business has been doing for years.

But they wanted to try something a little different, given the unusual circumstances surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’re just trying to see what we can do to support the community and we usually try to do as much as we can,” he said. “We’ve been actually donating bread to local food banks for years and years.

“We’re just looking to do something else. A previous employee of mine, Robin, she basically came in a couple of days ago and said ‘hey, we should do this.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, that sounds like a great idea.’ And we just kind of rolled with it.”

What they rolled with was the idea to include their customers in helping provide lunches for area hospital workers.

For a $10 donation at their location on Rancho California Road and Meadows Parkway, Great Harvest will provide one lunch consisting of a sandwich, bag of chips and a cookie.

“They’re putting themselves literally at death’s door to help everybody out,” Carlson said. “How can we not help them out?”

For every 10 donations they accept, the business will kick in two more lunches. They made deliveries Friday, April 24, and will choose a couple of days during each week to do more drop-offs for the health care workers.

Carlson said the response from customers has been impressive.

“Oh, it’s incredible,” he said. “We’ve had an overwhelming amount of donations coming in. So we’re going to be able to hopefully be able to do lunches for all three of those hospitals for the next couple of weeks. We basically pick one or two days out of the week each week and deliver them.”

On average, Carlson said they planned to deliver between 30-40 of the lunches at each of the hospitals Fridays.

The program has helped Great Harvest to stay in business during a difficult time.

“We are very thankful that we’re still in business and still running, albeit we’re not as busy as we used to be, but I mean, we’re still, our doors are still open and we’re still able to bake bread,” Carlson said. “We’re very thankful to be able to do that.”

For families that are struggling to put food on the table, Great Harvest is also donating a free loaf bread for folks that come in and ask for it.

“Obviously with everything going on, we just want to do what we can to play our part,” Carlson said.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.