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Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

The “Hugs for Heroes” initiative in Dana Point will make its first deliveries to Mission Hospital’s COVID care units.

Hugs for Heroes is a project that is supported by the City of Dana Point, Capo Cares, participating Dana Point restaurants, and Capo Beach Church, aiming to support and encourage our local health care providers at Mission Hospitals, Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach. Based on donations made by Dana Point residents, 284 meals will be delivered on Tuesday, Feb. 2, to every worker in Mission’s COVID care units at both the Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach locations.

The meals were purchased from Dana Point restaurants, this time from Jon’s Fish Market, Chart House and Pepi’s Sports Bar and Grill, creating a win-win for local businesses, said Toni Nelson, co-founder of Capo Cares. Subway Dana Point and Brio Tuscany Grille will also be participating in future deliveries. Working with Mission Hospital staff, Hugs for Heroes volunteers also coordinated delivery of a truckload of donated snacks and handmade notes of encouragement to health care workers this week.

Nelson, the Hugs for Heroes founder, expressed gratitude to the many residents who donated funds, snacks and heartfelt notes to encourage those who are working so hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Graphic: Courtesy of Hugs for Heroes

“Thank you to every person who made a donation for meals, dropped off bulk snacks at the community center, or took the time to write a note to those who are working so hard every day in difficult and often heartbreaking conditions,” Nelson said. “This is a testament to the kindness of Dana Point citizens, and the willingness of the City, our restaurants, community groups and countless citizens to send our health care heroes a collective hug from Dana Point. I’m particularly grateful to Capo Beach Church for facilitating our efforts to collect donations and purchase meals.”

Nelson noted that the initiative is potentially expanding to the City of Laguna Niguel.

Those who wish to participate in this ongoing program are urged to donate to Hugs for Heroes at or drop off bulk, unrefrigerated snacks, drinks and notes of encouragement at the Dana Point community center, 34052 Del Obispo Street, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.—LB

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