hospital food

James Barr gives a thumbs up his his hospital room after Joy Brisighella delivered food from Angie’s Restaurant on Nov. 14.

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When hospital-ridden James Barr asked for a hot meal on social media, he wasn’t expecting much. Instead, he received over a hundred comments from members of a local foodie group offering to bring food to him from around the valley.

“The whole thing just sort of grew and I think it’s important for people to know how great our community is,” Barr said. “I would like to thank the people that started the ball rolling.”

The Logan Foodies group was created in 2017 off the tail end of the dying Foodies Facebook page. Joy Brisighella, the admin of the group, hoped to use it as a place of positivity for patrons, staff and businesses to interact with each other. The group has garnered over 6,000 members and even includes residents from northern Idaho, Brigham City, Tremonton and Garden City. Brisighella said a lot of people from those areas come to Cache Valley specifically for the food.

The group launched a support program at the height of the pandemic to take food and other necessities to those impacted by quarantine. Brisighella said many of the posts during that time were all about offering help and services to residents in the valley. That’s why helping Barr was like second nature for a lot of the members in the group.

“We know we’ve been positive and supportive with all our food industry people,” Brisighella said. “Here’s this guy who makes a random post because he’s been in there (the hospital) for a long time … it’s not anything bad about the hospital. When you’re as into food as we all are and what James is used to, he wanted some good, yummy food. I think it does go hand in hand with the community support, positive support, and I did not expect it.”

Barr made the original post on Nov. 10, stating that he was in the hospital with a broken hip and was beginning to grow tired of hospital food. By Nov. 13, a meal train was created to organize who would bring what meal to Barr on what day.

“I want to thank everyone in this group,” Barr wrote in another Facebook post. “Being in the hospital Is a painful experience and all the positive response to my post reminds me that Logan has changed since I first came here in 1969. Physically the town has lost its small town feel but the people are still the same at heart. Good honest people who care about their neighbors and are willing to help. There is a reason why it is called happy valley and the reason is you!”

Many members have posted pictures of themselves with Barr at the hospital, showing off what meals they brought in for him. Some bring takeout from local restaurants such as Angie’s, while others box up leftovers of home-cooked meals. Barr made it clear that he was thankful for the hospital staff’s hard work to feed him. Brisighella also praised the hospital for their work, saying that sometimes people just have cravings.

“It’s his foodie family,” she said. “We take care of our own. It’s a fun project, it’s the spirit of giving that everyone is feeling at this time, and I was surprised as anyone to see how many people are really gearing up for it.”

Barr’s sister is also in the hospital with the same hip broken. Logan Foodies have also brought her meals in as well.

“She is a little embarrassed that I started this,” Barr said, “But of course I had no idea how much response I would get.”

Brisighella added that the current project the group’s focusing on is promoting local business during the holiday season. Logan Foodies decals are being distributed to local eateries over the valley.

“It’s about keeping it positive and supportive,” she said. “That’s our whole thing.”

Barr will be in the hospital for three more weeks as he recovers from his broken hip. Those interested in joining the meal train can sign up at https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/40mwr8.

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