RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — They say mom knows best, and one nurse’s mom is making meals, with love, for healthcare workers on the front lines very day in the fight against coronavirus.

Lisa Mayisoglu and her sister, Selma, are on their second week of prepping nearly 50 meals a day for free out of their restaurant, Lisa’s Mediterranean Cuisine, in Ridgewood. The food goes to medical staff at either nearby Valley Hospital or the trauma unit at Hackensack University Medical Center, where Lisa’s 24-year-old daughter, Linda, has been a nurse for about a year.

“I see these other nurses taking granola bars,” Lisa said. “And then when this coronavirus came up I said you know what, let me reach out to hospitals … I can make food since I don’t have any customers coming in.”

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Lisa sees the toll COVID can take on emergency responders facing looming equipment and staff shortages.

“It’s unbelievable. My daughter just tells me she has no time to go to the bathroom,” Lisa said. “Especially working so many hours and being so tired. You know, they don’t even have time to drink water.”

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She says Linda is also worried she’ll expose her grandparents, who live upstairs, to the virus. She said Linda lost her father to cancer when she was 12 years old.

“Sometimes she just calls me, 1, 2 o’clock in the morning and cries,” Lisa said.

So the restaurant is not charging EMS workers who pick up food.


And that compassion is spreading. Some fellow Ridgewood restaurants — Park West Tavern and East Coast Burger Company — have pitched in to make meals, as well as Bar Louie in the Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

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Derek Michalski of Upper Saddle River has volunteered to deliver the food and Lisa just found out next week she will coordinate with Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck to nourish its workers so they can pour their energy into fighting the virus.

Hospitals say if you want to donate food on your own, call ahead first as there’s certain rules that need to be followed.


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