A group of Wayzata High School seniors have dedicated their year-end project for National Honors Society to local healthcare workers.
Cross country teammates Claire Wilson, Taya Vokaty and Sammie Corning had planned a running clinic and race for children, which they canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. They had already raised $300 for the event's beneficiary, but wanted to go an extra mile. For their replacement NHS project, they raised $825 for 125 meals through a meal program for healthcare workers run by Rock Elm Tavern in Maple Grove.
"I was very shocked that we were so successful. Our original goal on there was like $200," Wilson said.
The students chose the cause because they all have healthcare workers in their families, she said.
Rock Elm Tavern launched its Healthcare Worker Meal program out of its Maple Grove location four weeks ago, primarily using donations. Customers can opt to give $7 when they order a meal online. The restaurant typically collects enough money for about 100 meals each week, which go to North Memorial's Maple Grove hospital, co-owner Troy Reding said.
"When we closed down two months ago ... we decided to continue our values of giving back to the community," he said.
At Rock Elm's Plymouth location, the restaurant is funding meals for Treehouse Youth.
"From an execution standpoint, it’s been relatively easy ... It’s not going to make or break us, being able to survive this pandemic and getting back open. A lot of other things are going to factor into that," he said.
Wilson said she and her family regularly order take-out from Rock Elm Tavern, which has previously sponsored graduation events for Wayzata High School.
"They’re just very community-based," Wilson said. "We love that we could support them through this."
The students have left the GoFundMe page running, and plan to pass along any new donations, Wilson said.