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Issaquah business owner makes smoothies for front line workers

Evergreen Health workers were grateful to receive a healthy treat on Thursday. (Nicole Jennings/KIRO Radio)

For Heath Anderson, who concocts smoothies and juices at Fresh the Juice Bar in Issaquah, the the COVID-19 pandemic soon brought a devastating reality.

The hit the outbreak has taken on his business means that he may have to close entirely.

With the stay-at-home order, Anderson is open for deliveries, but the numbers are far from what they would normally be. Having a stock of fruits and vegetables going unused in his shop, Anderson was faced with a decision.

“I choose to always try to look at the positive in a situation, and this is a horrible situation — having to close my shop, losing pretty much all of my revenue,” he said. “I could sit at home and wallow in my pity, or I could try to help out other people.”

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Now, Anderson is busier than ever making smoothies — and each one goes to a person on the front lines of the crisis.

He spends his days delivering the nutritious treats to health care workers, first responders, and nursing homes throughout the Eastside.

“I’m going out of business anyway; I might as well go out with a bang and help other people,” he said.

On Thursday, 60 doctors and nurses at Evergreen Health in Kirkland were the happy recipients of strawberry/banana smoothies. The hospital has played a central role in the crisis, as the place where most of the earliest known coronavirus patients — residents of Kirkland’s LifeCare Center — were treated.

“With all of the uncertainty … it impacts us on every level, from our professional to personal lives, especially for health care workers,” said Kayse Dahl, PR and marketing manager for Evergreen Health. “It’s a time of uncertainty, but I think the most important thing, that we always back to and that we just appreciate, is that we’re all in this together.”

Delivering the smoothies at a drastically reduced rate allows Anderson to cover the cost of his products while providing a little spot of joy in the stressful, frightening, and heartbreaking days of front line workers.

Dahl said the hospital has received many such deliveries from community members who want to help — and each one, no matter how small it might seem, is special.

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“There are so many uncertainties, it just is a really bright spot for everyone,” Dahl said. “And we have been so appreciative of all of the generous outpourings that we’ve received.”

Anderson is seeking donations of time, effort, and funds via GoFundMe. If the movement grows large enough, he hopes to turn it into a nonprofit.

“I think it is bringing the community closer together, and I just want to be a part of that,” Anderson said.

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