By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Many health care workers are likely feeling the pandemic pressure more than anyone these days. But some are easing their stress by helping others in need.

“Some of us worked last night – but they still have that drive and that passion,” said Tolya Thompson, who has been working at the Sutter Roseville Emergency Department.

Early mornings and odd hours are nothing unusual for many healthcare workers, but Thompson said Tuesday morning was special. Doctors, nurses and all types of health care workers came together for the greater good.

“Some of them have been sick themselves or been out of work, had their pay decreased,” Thompson said. “They still felt it in their heart to give.”

Vituity Cares Foundation, a charitable foundation dedicated to improving the health of underserved communities Thompson is a part of, bought $10,000 worth of food to fill multiple trucks. Volunteers met early at Costco, which donated a large bin of frozen turkeys, to collect canned goods and vegetables to take to organizations around town.

The foundation had contacted three different food pantries, asked for a list of needed items and stocked their shelves to help those who need a meal, like guests at Loaves and Fishes.

“It means everything,” said Erika Prasad, the development director for Loaves & Fishes in Sacramento. She’s thankful for the donation as COVID-19 continues to serve up struggles for the community.

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“We couldn’t have had a more profound message from the health care community, who are just as essential as we are right now,” Prasad said.

Even a little bit goes a long way. Paying it forward not only helps others, but it also helps the health care workers knowing they are filling stomachs and hearts.

“We needed this,” Thompson said. “Everyone said to me, ‘I’ve been looking for a way to give back.’”

Health care workers joined hands to provide care in more ways than one this holiday season.

Heather Janssen