One-thousand nurses, doctors and other frontline workers at Southside Hospital this month each left work and went home one day with a huge box filled with produce, as part of a large gift from philanthropists Iris and Michael Smith.

The former Long Islanders also donated $1 million and 100,000 N95 masks in support of Northwell Health’s frontline staff.

The 20,000 pounds of fresh produce were given to help ease the burden on frontline health care staff of having to shop for groceries after working long and challenging shifts during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Produce Alliance Foundation, the charity arm of Produce Alliance, LLC and their distributor Gargiulo Produce, distributed the boxes to Southside Hospital staff.

Deliveries from Produce Box Project: Nourish Our Frontlines have served over 7,000 frontline workers nationally with over 131,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit this spring. The effort also keeps the produce supply chain open and working in multiple industries, allowing businesses and farms to keep operating, according to Northwell’s website.

Project Produce Box: Nourish Our Frontlines was also made possible through a generous donation from Kaily and Adam Westbrook.

You too can support Northwell’s frontline staff by visiting To give to Produce Alliance, visit

Some of the boxes of produce donated by Iris and Michael Smith to frontline staff at Southside Hospital (courtesy photo).
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The photo above this story is of former Long Islanders Iris and Michael Smith at a function in 2017.

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