Los Angeles Galaxy star goalkeeper David Bingham visited Dignity Health’s St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach Wednesday, May 6 to donate meals to nurses and doctors who are currently on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My dad retired from Oakland PD [after] 30 years, and my sister is currently working in the ICU COVID pod in Atlanta, Georgia, so I think people don’t understand the stress they are under when they are working in those environments,” Bingham said. “My sister doesn’t even see my mom anymore. She’s staying at an AirBnB sometimes. So, I think that if we can give back in a small way, that’s what we should all be doing right now.”
Bingham, in partnership with local restaurants such as El Barrio Taco based in Hermosa Beach, and some of his teammates have been donating meals to first responders while the Major League Soccer [MLS] season is currently on hiatus due to the virus.
Wednesday’s donations included 70 taco bowls to the medical center’s emergency, intensive care and respiratory units.
Abby Rojas, a nurse with the ER unit that has worked directly with COVID-19 patients, thanked Bingham for his donation, and spoke about the dangers of the coronavirus.
“When we first started to encounter COVID patients and treat them, and as this became more prevalent, we changed our approach and wore more safety gear,” she said. “It’s very scary because the COVID patients can look as healthy as you and I, and in a matter of minutes or even hours, they become very sick–– now they’re fighting for their lives and we’re trying to help them to recover.”
Rojas said that donations, including one from a professional athlete, reminds first responders that they are being thought of.
“It really warms our hearts and our souls to get this outpouring from the community and to be thought of by the LA Galaxy, it really means a lot,” Rojas said. “Especially because we’re huge sports fanatics and we’re missing the action outside our work.”
Major sporting events around the world came to a grinding halt earlier this year as the highly contagious virus continued to spread.
And while fans may miss cheering for their favorite teams, it’s the athletes that feel a void now that their passion is put on hold.
Bingham said helping out in the community is helping him and his teammates fill up the time.
The now two-year veteran with the LA Galaxy told the Signal Tribune that the first couple of weeks following the pandemic’s outbreak were clouded in uncertainty. He said things were constantly changing, but now the team has come to terms that major games may be put on hold for an uncertain amount of time.
“Everyone is staying positive and we do our individual workouts, but I think for me, I was lost without playing soccer,” Bingham said. “Obviously, this is important to me, so this has filled that soccer gap for me, and this is something I look forward to doing every week. It’s just a bright light during this time.”