Huntington National Bank partners with Tienda y Taqueria Del Rey for food donation at Spectrum Health Lakeland

ST. JOSEPH — On Tuesday, frontline workers at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph celebrated Taco Tuesday with a donation from two southwest Michigan businesses.

Huntington National Bank, 929 S. 11th St., Niles, and Tienda y Taqueria Del Rey, a family owned grocery store and Mexican restaurant at 105 Sheldon St., Dowagiac, partnered together to help deliver lunch to 30 staff members at several different departments of the hospital.

Nic DeVries, a branch manager at Huntington National Bank, said the idea for the donation is part of Huntington’s culture in wanting to help.

“We are considered essential employees as a bank, but we understand there are people doing way bigger things then we are,” DeVries said. “Something as simple as putting together a couple bucks of our funds to reach out and provide lunches for people who are sacrificing a lot more than what we are at the bank.”

DeVries said his team agreed the food donation was a simple and easy way for the bank to show its appreciation.

In addition, DeVries said he the Niles bank wanted to give back to its business customer.

DeVries reached out to Idalia Blanco, whose family owns Tienda y Taqueria Del Rey, and asked to buy lunches to help out the restaurant.

“Unbeknownst to me at the time, the Blanco family stepped up and actually split the cost with us,” DeVries said.

With a family connection to the hospital, DeVries said it is a unique situation walking into the hospital with its new COVID-19 safety precautions.

“You can’t see their smiles, but you definitely can feel them,” DeVries said. “I was greeted with open arms. The women who greeted us were like, ‘holy cow, this is a ton of food.’”

Also placed on each takeout box was a message from Tienda y Taqueria Del Rey and the staff at Huntington Bank.

“Thank you for everything that you do, everything that you’ve sacrificed and for your resilience while we get through this pandemic,” the notes read. “You are the true heroes and should be recognized as such. Stay safe and know we are all thinking of you.”

On Wednesday morning, DeVries had received messages from a couple hospital staff members thanking him and Tienda y Taqueria Del Rey for the food donation.

DeVries said the donation was the highlight of every staff members’ Tuesday at Huntington Bank.

“It was cool to see people doing something bigger than what we are doing currently and being able to give back to them,” DeVries said.