(CBS DETROIT)– Since the start of the pandemic healthcare workers have been on the frontlines, and even though we’re more than a year in, they are still hard at work.

Through a new program, Henry Ford Health is honoring its employees for their continued dedication.

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“We’ve launched a program called Grub with Gratitude, and here’s how it works, we’ve purchased 500, $50 gift cards from 25 restaurants that need our business and we’re going to randomly award them to healthcare workers each week in drawings,” said Henry Ford Health COO Bob Riney.

Not only do some much deserving employees have the chance to receive free lunch, with the purchases of the gift cards, the program also supports local small businesses.

“It’s so phenomenal that they’re doing this, because so many people gave to the hospital, for the hospital to say hey we want to thank the community for all the support,” said Norman Mourad, Owner of Shields Pizza in Midtown Detroit.

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During the pandemic, many restaurants provided meals for healthcare workers, like Mourad. He says since the beginning of the pandemic he wanted to show his appreciation for hospital staff, even when his own business was suffering.

“It’s amazing how positive they are and how strong they are and how appreciative they are and we are blessed to have them at Henry Ford and the hard work that they are doing,” said Mourad.

The Henry Ford Health Grub with Gratitude program is in its second week with at least eight more weeks to go.

Customers of the restaurants and the general public can donate to Grub and Gratitude at www.henryford.com/grubwithgratitude. They also can show their support on social media using #GrubWithGratitude and @HenryFordHealthSystem.

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April Morton