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Donor Spotlight - Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

“Our privilege is to help the hospital and help the community. We are honored to have the opportunity to do both through this gift to Project BRAVO.” - Dr. Evan Garfein

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline medical staff have shown remarkable displays of heroism, bravery, courage—and now generosity. Upon receiving hazard pay in recognition of their critical work, the Montefiore Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery attendings and residents banded together to donate all or a portion of their bonuses to support Montefiore’s Project BRAVO Food Pantry. Project BRAVO is a community-based, hospital-driven initiative designed to combat food insecurity for individuals and families in the Bronx.

“The decision to donate a portion of our hazard pay to the food pantry was easy and obvious,” said Dr. Evan Garfein, Chief, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery. “The same spirit of service and commitment to our hospital community that compelled our participation in caring for patients during the pandemic gave rise to the ground-swell to give to Project BRAVO.”

Project BRAVO launched in 1986 near Montefiore’s Moses campus—where it still operates today—to help make healthy choices possible and accessible. Today, their mission is more important than ever.

The Bronx has consistently reported some of the nation’s highest levels of poverty, with more than one in four residents facing food shortages. With the surge of COVID-19, the Bronx rapidly became the hardest-hit community by the virus across America—in turn, deepening that distress by further increasing homelessness and job loss.

To lift up our neighborhoods, Project BRAVO instituted extended hours to accommodate more clients and allow for social distancing, onboarded more volunteers, and opened programming to more people in need. Visit Project BRAVO, and you’ll see volunteer teams working together to load and distribute crates of baby supplies, shelf-stable foods, personal care items, and more. Project BRAVO welcomes frontline staff and their families, new mothers from Montefiore’s HealthySteps program, patients receiving HIV / AIDS treatment, and other high-risk, high-need individuals.

“The way we see ourselves is no different from the way any other members of our extraordinary Montefiore community see themselves,” said Dr. Garfein. “Our privilege is to help the hospital and help the community. We are honored to have the opportunity to do both through this gift to Project BRAVO.”

It is inspired partners like the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery who are helping to change the course of COVID-19. Will you join them?