The Nashville Predators hockey team, longtime supporters of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, donated 600 Chick-fil-A meals to feed hospital employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the Predators’ “Eat with Us” initiative to support heroes battling this global pandemic, the meals were made possible through the Predators’ 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, created by goaltender Pekka Rinne and former Predators’ captain Shea Weber. The meals also come on the heels of a week of virtual visits from Predators’ players
– Rinne, Kyle Turris and Austin Watson – who virtually visited on different days with patients and families at Children’s Hospital, made possible through technology in Seacrest Studio.
“On behalf of our patients and staff at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, we are very grateful for the continued generous support from our longtime friends, the Nashville Predators. The support this week has been incredible – first for the children in the hospital to get virtual visits through Seacrest Studio from several Predators’ players, including Rinne, Kyle Turris and Austin Watson, and now, they are feeding our hardworking doctors, nurses and staff with the help of Chick-fil-A,” said Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, President of Children’s Hospital.
“While this is an uncertain time for all of us in the age of COVID-19, some certainty remains in that we are all in this together and we can always count on our community and friends to support one another. We look forward to seeing the Nashville Predators on the ice and in our hospital again soon,” Rush added.
The Predators also teamed up with Dunkin’ to provide free coffee for medical professionals working on the front line. On 10 days over the next month, the first 100 local health care professionals to show their medical ID badges at Dunkin’ locations on 21st Avenue or Elliston Place will receive a free cup of coffee courtesy of the Predators and players Rinne, Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi. They all pledged $1,000 per day to purchase coffee for hospital employees at the participating locations.
“Our partnership with Vanderbilt is so woven into all of our operations, from the medical care Vanderbilt doctors and medical staff provide to our players throughout the year and to our guests at each and every Bridgestone Arena event, to our player visits to patients and to our 365 Fund, which raises and provides funds for pediatric cancer research. Now at this time when it is important for most of us to be apart, Vanderbilt’s staff is providing crucial care and services as we battle COVID-19. We hope that bringing food to them is a simple gesture to show how appreciative we and our community are for their commitment to saving lives and helping us through these difficult times,” said Gerry Helper, Senior Vice President of Community Relations for the Nashville Predators.
Over the past eight years combined, the Nashville Predators team has given more than $2 million in donations and in-kind contributions to Children’s Hospital and its programs. Every year the team raises money through the 365 Fund to support pediatric cancer research.
In addition to their gifts, the Predators have supported Children’s Hospital in many other ways, including players’ frequent visits with patients at the hospital; Flashes of Hope and Beads of Courage programs for patients; and during the 2020 season, each home game featured the Vanderbilt Health Champ of the Game, where fans were introduced to a patient from Children’s Hospital via the jumbotron.