CUYAHOGA FALLS — Several of the city’s downtown businesses are teaming up to thank Western Reserve Hospital employees for their work in treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The kindness of this community is incredible," said Downtown Cuyahoga Falls Partnership Executive Director Abby Poeske. "I’ve had community members asking how they can help keep their favorite downtown businesses stay afloat, and businesses wondering how they could best support hospital and EMS employees. Everyone wants to do something for someone else."

As a result, a number of downtown city businesses have come up with a way to do both.

In a "Pay it Forward for Our Healthcare Heroes" campaign, community members can purchase pick-me-ups from local businesses which will then be donated to patient-facing Western Reserve Hospital employees.

Each business is operating within its wheelhouse: HiHO Brewing Co. is providing pizza from their brick oven and salad, Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium is selling locally-crafted crocheted succulents, Up Front Art Space is printing thank you cards by a local artist, and REVERIE is offering a candle, body cream and bath bomb from Hope Soap. Jean + Lou is offering a sea salt dark chocolate caramel candy bar, thank you card and locally-made candle. Metropolis Popcorn is offering small bags of its Theater Style, Chicago Style and Dark Chocolate w/ Sea Salt popcorn. Celia’s Boutique is providing a mini self-care package with a heart token, a one-minute meditation, and lavender oil. Clean Eatz is offering prepared meals. The Social Dept. is offering specially designed T-shirts and Hope Soap is offering a soy candle scented with cucumber and mint. 

"As a business owner, we wanted to partner with community members in a joint effort to thank as many patient-facing health care workers at Western Reserve Hospital as possible," said Whitney Milligan, co-owner of Jean + Lou. "It’s clear that they all have a long journey ahead and we wanted to provide them with something that would hopefully brighten their day a little bit."

Some of the businesses will match some or all of the purchases made by community members.

"What an incredible display of loyalty and generosity from our hometown," said Dr. Robert Kent, president and CEO of Western Reserve Hospital. "It’s this kind of outpouring of the human spirit that stays with you as a health care worker. The thoughtful effort put forth by these companies and this community is inspiring and couldn’t come at a better time for our frontline staff."

In addition to Western Reserve Hospital employees, HiHO Brewing Co. is also providing meals to Cuyahoga Falls Fire/EMS workers.

HiHO co-founder Ali Hovan said community members cannot designate whether the meal goes to a hospital or fire/EMS employee. Since HiHO has a "small kitchen," Hovan explained the delivery of meals to the various locations will be done based on group sizes. 

"We are working with the hospital and Fire/EMS to determine numbers of staff in each department," said Hovan, who added, "Our business wouldn’t be what it is without the community, so we think it’s important to give back to the people who keep our community safe and healthy."

The leader of the city’s fire department expressed his appreciation for the support his organization is receiving.

"The outpouring of support for our department from our community has been astounding and is a true testament to the absolute good that exists in our city," stated Cuyahoga Falls Fire Chief Fred Jackson. "Our local businesses have been at the forefront of efforts to make sure that we are taken care of during this public health crisis, and we are truly appreciative."

Community members wishing to support local business and send a donated thank you to patient-facing Western Reserve Hospital employees or a meal from HiHO to hospital and fire/EMS workers can do so at www.downtowncf.com/healthcareheroes or by calling, emailing, or messaging one of the participating businesses.