New Jersey

Family Recovers from COVID-19, Cooks Thousands of Catered Meals for Medical Workers

A New Jersey family that owns a catering business knew the first thing they wanted to do once they were feeling better was something for the medical workers on the front lines — so they started cooking

NBC Universal, Inc.

A New Jersey family is relishing every breath of fresh air these days, even if it is behind a face mask.

Earlier in April, all three members of the Luberto family were sick with COVID-19, struggling to breathe and praying to get better.

"All of us had these terrible body aches — the bones actually hurt. Crazy," Fred Luberto told NBC New York. He, along with his wife and daughter, thankfully never ended up in the hospital. But when they got better, their first thoughts went to figuring out how to help out health care workers.

The Luberto family owns a catering business, so they called their employees back to the kitchen — and started cooking.

"As soon as we started feeling better we said OK, let's go out and do some good. Let's get some stuff going to the hospitals," Fred Luberto said.

Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck is where their personal doctor is affiliated, and was among the first locations to get a delivery. Since then, they've delivered thousands of meals to five different New Jersey hospitals, including treats for medical workers' children on Easter.

"We would get pictures from the families of them wearing the Easter Bunny ears and they had the chocolates, and they were just so excited that they could actually enjoy Easter," said Chantalle Luberto.

The rest of the deliveries included pasta dishes, meatballs, roasted veggies and more — happily accepted by nurses whose smiles were covered by facemasks, as they work around the clock to treat patients.

Fred Luberto said it felt good to do something for those workers, glad they were able to give back especially after he and his family had just spent days feeling so lousy.

The family is on the mend and they are no longer contagious, but still not fully back to 100 percent despite feeling healthier. But they are now more determined than ever to help their community fight the virus.

"When bad things like this happen, people come together I think a little bit more," said Brenda Luberto. "Everyone wants to help everyone now."

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