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Willie’s Pizza provided lunch and Ann Cordell cookies to hospital workers at Emanuel Medical Center (Photo contributed).

One Turlock woman’s goal to honor the anniversary of her late husband’s birthday by donating meals to hospital employees on New Year’s Day has turned into a group of community members committed to feeding the city’s health care workers and first responders.

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Oasis Grill and Deli supplied free lunches for the entire Stanislaus State Police Department.

Gaylene Cornell’s husband Bill passed away from cancer three years ago and when his birthday would come around on Dec. 31, she usually marked it with a donation to the American Cancer Society. But this New Year’s Eve, as the clock was counting down, she realized she had forgotten her donation and set out to put something together.

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Vito’s Ristorante provided meals to the entire Turlock Fire Department.

That little slip of the mind led to a community-wide effort to show their gratitude for Emanuel Medical Center employees by providing them meals from local restaurants. It’s now growing to include Turlock’s police and fire departments and emergency medical technicians.

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Mundo’s served up 80 lunches for AMR ambulance service staff.

“The response from the community has been amazing,” Cornell said in January. “It shows that we can do a lot when we pool together.”

As of Jan. 20, Cornell received close to $7,000 in donations to purchase meals and treats for Emanuel Medical Center employees, fire fighters, police officers and nursing home staff.

Those wishing to contribute to the meal fund, can use Venmo: @Gaylene-Cornell.