When Dr. Mustafa Gokcek learned from the students in his online US history course (most of whom are studying nursing at Niagara) that healthcare workers at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center were in need of fresh, hot meals, he decided to help.
The associate professor of history immediately reached out to Buffalo UP (United for Peace), a local nonprofit organization that promotes dialogue, friendship, and mutual understanding among different cultures, races, and religions. Buffalo UP volunteers “responded enthusiastically” to his appeal, Dr. Gokcek said, and “were excited to be a part of an effort that will bring the community together and express their gratefulness to the healthcare workers’ tireless and selfless work.”
On Friday, May 8, during National Nurses Week, meals that represented the Turkish and Central Asian ethnic background of the community, including Uzbek pilaf, Turkish kebab, homemade cookies, ethnic pastries, samosa, spring rolls, and a variety of desserts, were delivered to the hospital.
"These are certainly most challenging times for healthcare workers,” Dr. Gokcek said. “The fact that our nurse students strive to complete classwork on top of their sacrifice is especially more extraordinary. This effort was a small token of appreciation, just so healthcare workers and NU nurse students know how much their frontline work is appreciated by the larger community. It was another opportunity for me to notice how much the community is willing to give and take care of others. Activities like this increase our awareness of the good in our communities and in humanity."