Wilton group serves meals to front-line coronavirus workers

An emergency room nurse at Danbury Hospital accepts lunch for herself and her colleagues donated by the Wilton Warriors’ Front Line Appreciation Facebook group.

An emergency room nurse at Danbury Hospital accepts lunch for herself and her colleagues donated by the Wilton Warriors’ Front Line Appreciation Facebook group.

Contributed photo /

WILTON — Nearly 150 people have signed up to be Warriors on the front lines helping to provide meals to doctors and nurses at area hospitals and to Wilton first responders.

Lynn Martines is coordinating the Facebook group Warriors’ Front Line Appreciation to accept donations, 100 percent of which goes to purchasing food from local restaurants that is then delivered to the intensive care and emergency departments at Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford hospitals. Food is also being provided to Wilton’s police and fire departments and the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

After posting as a private group on March 23 on the social media site, she raised nearly $9,000 from the first 150 people. She made the site public on April 5.

Martines, who lives in South Wilton, said her neighbor came up with the idea. The neighbor, she said, “was swamped with work so I went for it.”

“I started posting that I would be collecting money for these meals and to give the work to local restaurants,” she said. She called the hospitals and first responders to see what they needed and what they would accept. She also called several restaurants to see what they could offer.

One thing she discovered is that hospitals don’t welcome impromptu deliveries of things like pizzas, no matter how well-intentioned.

“The hospitals have a coordinator to handle donations,” Martines said. “People just randomly sending pizzas to the ER, they are not allowed anywhere near the place.”

As donations of food became more frequent, hospitals began requiring single-serving portions, she said, as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus.

When restaurants can do so, they make pre-arranged deliveries that are received by designated hospital personnel. Otherwise, Martines and her two sons, Paul, 18, and Trevor, 16, have been picking up and delivering food.

On the Facebook page, Martines lists all the contributors, how much money has been collected, and how much has been spent to date. She also lists where the food will be delivered.

This week, the group was providing lunch on April 7 for 50 Norwalk Hospital ICU employees catered by Dave’s Planet Pizza.

Lunch for 40 Stamford Hospital ER employees is planned for April 9, catered by Pellicci’s Ristorante.

Westover Pizza will deliver lunch to 100 ICU employees at Stamford Hospital on April 10.

In the future, Martines said she is planning to focus on Tuesday and Thursday deliveries, rotating among hospitals and shifts.

“The other thing on my mind is the grocery store workers,” she said. “I try not to go into stores too often, but when I do I see all these kids who go to school with my kids and they’re working.”

She asked one teen what they needed and they said “donate a mask.”

“We can’t find masks, but a lot of people are sewing them” she said. “If you are part of a group making masks, we’ll buy the material and we’ll give the masks to them.”Another thought she had was gift cards. “We definitely want to acknowledge people.”

When she’s not coordinating this endeavor, Martines is a familiar face in the schools, having worked as a substitute teacher and volunteering with the schools’ Post Graduation Party.

But Warriors’ Front Line Appreciation is on her front burner right now. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the effort may Venmo a donation to @Lynn-Martines (Venmo 4 digit confirmation code is 2269).