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Encinitas Woman Delivers Food From Local Restaurants To Hospital Staff

Encinitas resident Syndee Wood carrying a tray of burritos from Chicks Natural restaurant, Jan. 12, 2021.
Jacob Aere
Encinitas resident Syndee Wood carrying a tray of burritos from Chicks Natural restaurant, Jan. 12, 2021.

Hospital workers are inundated with COVID-19 patients, and local businesses are hurting from coronavirus-related lockdowns. That's why Encinitas resident Syndee Wood is working to lighten the burden on both of those groups.

Wood is an adjunct professor at multiple higher education institutions in San Diego County and a founding member of the North County Justice Allies, whose group’s mission is to offer support and protection to underrepresented and marginalized groups.

Encinitas Woman Delivers Food From Local Restaurants To Hospital Staff
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Recently her efforts have been focused on supporting local restaurants hurt by the pandemic, and delivering food from those eateries to hospitals in San Diego.

“They need to be something that can be eaten with no more than a napkin, maybe a fork at most," Wood said. "It needs to be something that can be eaten quickly because these workers only get a few minutes break."

VIDEO: Encinitas Woman Delivers Food From Local Restaurants To Hospital Staff

The effort began on Dec. 12 when Wood shared an online post for an Addiction Awareness Initiative at Pandora’s Pizza which delivered food for local ICU staff. Since then, Venmo donations to Wood’s account have soared and the effort has raised just under $12,000.

With all the funding, Wood has been able to continue supporting North County restaurants on a daily basis with the help of other volunteers.

Encinitas eatery Chicks Natural in was the selected restaurant for food donation efforts on Tuesday. Owner Elias Khoury said Wood's initiative is especially helpful for his small business during this difficult time.

“You can’t just give up, a lot of people are giving up. I think there's hope. We are a family run business so everybody pitched in. My daughter helps, my son helps, so that makes a big difference," Khoury said.

The second part of the plan is delivering the food to hospital staff, with the majority of donations going toward Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.

“We're giving the food and the hospital sends it to whatever department needs it at that point — which tends to be the ICU, the ER, the COVID units and beyond," Wood said.

Acquaintances of Wood have recently started similar initiatives throughout the county.

“I'm inspired to keep this going and members of the community are inspired to continue to help in ways that work,” Wood said. “Mutual aid is something a lot of people are talking about right now, the Justice Allies are working on a mutual aid fund, and I do see this continuing to grow."

Wood said she expects to continue delivering food from local North County restaurants to hospital staff for the foreseeable future.