Tucson radio station supports businesses, front-line workers

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 5:47 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 23, 2020 at 10:32 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There’s no doubt the COVID-19 crisis difficult for many industries, but an independent radio station in Tucson is spreading some joy by supporting local restaurants and frontline workers.

Bobby Rich and Hill Bailey started Thursday with a smile and a message of unity.

“More than anything, just keep the economy strong and spread the kindness,” Bailey said about KDRI The Drive.

Rich and Bailey are leading by example. As soon as they are off-air, their volunteer work begins.

“We kind of thought ‘what if we do a win-win? What if we could take the money people normally spend going out … let us take that money, let’s buy food in really large quantities from the local restaurants and feed the first responders, these frontline workers,’” Bailey said.

So, Bailey organized a fundraiser called “Drive Thru for Tucson’s Frontline”.

It was an appealing idea for Suzanne Kaiser, the owner of Vero Amore Italian Restaurants in Tucson.

“I contacted Hill Bailey and said, ‘we would love to feed the front-liners,’” Kaiser said.

Thursday night, the staff was busy preparing for the big order.

“I try to do it in $1,000 clumps,” Bailey said. “So, $1,000 will get us anywhere from 70 to 100 meals.”

For struggling restaurants, every little bit helps.

“It’s really a boost to us right now,” Kaiser said. “We are down about 70 percent of sales, but the community has been really supportive.”

The drive is just another example of people coming together. So far, it has raised over $33,000, benefiting more than 10 restaurants. Receipts are posted online to show donors exactly where their money is being spent.

“By the end of this weekend, I am hoping we will be at 1,100 or 1,200 first responders fed,” Bailey said.

About 100 containers of chicken fettuccine alfredo and chicken parmesan from Vero Amore will be delivered to workers at St. Mary’s Hospital at noon on Friday, April 24, 2020.

Tucson Medical Center has also been on the receiving end of some of these meals.

“Tucson is a special place in how it comes together to care for one another. During this health crisis, our staff has received numerous donations of food, coffee and other treats from various members of our community. We are incredibly grateful and humbled by this outpouring of love and support. Each of these donations goes a long way, making our staff feel appreciated and supported by the community it serves. It’s a beautiful circle of caring for one another and we are so thankful.” said Julie Wolfe Beadle, director of major gifts, TMC Foundation.

If you would like to donate to the drive, click here.

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