WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — Dave DeNicolais is one of the owners at Bella Italia Pizzeria in Wake Forest.
The shop owner said he’s always wanted to fill bellies by serving good comfort food like pizza, but a new project he’s a part of is also filling the hearts of health care workers in North Carolina.
DeNicolais is teaming with an organization trying to bring smiles and send hope to those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is what keeps us going,” said DeNicolais standing outside his pizza shop Monday afternoon.
But DeNicolais had no idea about this mission to give back until he got a call from his 20-year-old neighbor Katie Haynes.
She has been giving to others for six years through her organization, “Smiling While Sending Hope.”
“I always want to give back,” said Haynes through a video chat phone call on Monday.
Haynes who has several chronic illnesses that impact her immune and digestive systems, uses her organizations to spread awareness and positivity to others experiencing tough times.
It was through her own pain, that a passion for helping others was birthed. She’s continuing her mission of giving back through her new project, care packages for health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“They do so much year round and it’s a real struggle for them right,” Haynes continued.
Haynes is collecting a list of items to create care packages for health care workers like nurses, medics and doctors.
“It’s going to bring a smile to their face. The first batch is going to go to UNC REX inpatient rehab,” said Haynes.
DeNicolais’s restaurants serve as a drop-off point for donations and he also been picking up some of the deliveries. He said it’s a small way he can help a young lady who has a big heart
“It’s incredibly inspiring. I’m a four-time cancer survivor myself. Seeing her sick and dealing with this and stepping up, it really touches home to me.”
The pizzeria is also offering a 50 percent discount to anyone making a donation.
Here is a complete lists of items Haynes is collecting for care packages.
- Badge reels
- Homemade masks
- Headbands with buttons sewed onto the middle (This keeps the mask from rubbing)
- Nurse/EMT decals
- Lip balm holders
- Hand sanitizer and holders
Haynes is also looking for people who know how to sew. They’re providing fabric to help create more face masks for medical professionals.
You can find out more about Katie Haynes and Smiling While Sending Hope by clicking here.
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