Making PPE Gear Is Wonderful, But This DOOH Industry Staffer Is Thanking Caregivers With Baked Goods

April 21, 2020 by Dave Haynes

Sixteen:Nine has posted numerous tales of industry people pitching in to the pandemic fight by making protective gear for health care workers and others whose jobs put them at higher  risk of infection.

But there are other ways to make a difference, and one of them is sweets – as in baked goods.

We had a piece up a few days ago about Pearl Media’s creative director making face masks. Now there’s word of a colleague from the same NYC-area OOH media firm baking up a storm for health care workers.

By day, Melissa Levinson handles landlord approvals, permit submissions, tracks and manages the database for postings, and helps run Pearl’s social media efforts.

In her off time, she’s baking. She’s by her own admission a terrible chef, but a master of cookies, muffins and loaves. “I love baking, at one point I wanted to be a pastry chef,” she says. “That was my dream career.”

From Pearl Media’s PR:

Usually she brings her baked goods to the office but during the COVID-19 crisis she’s been baking to feed healthcare workers on the front lines in New Jersey.  “My stepsister is a nursing student at County College of Morris, and she told me how her fellow CNAs were working crazy hours. When they weren’t working, they were sleeping.” 

When Melissa asked how they were eating, she learned that they couldn’t go to the cafeteria because they weren’t allowed to leave the COVID floor during their shifts. “So, I had her reach out to her friends to see If I could bake some goodies for them.” The answer was a resounding yes.

For the past several weeks, Melissa has been baking up a storm and donating treats to Morristown Medical Center and the West Orange Police Station, all while continuing to WFH. Each item is individually wrapped for safety to ensure freshness.  At first, she was baking almost every day but became inundated with orders for her goods, especially her chocolate chip cookies, a recipe for which she readily admits she obsesses over.

“When you bite into one of my chocolate chip cookies, I want you to get a chip or two or three every time!”  What’s her specialty? That depends on who you ask. “My little cousins LOVE my S’mores bars. My mom likes my scones. My dad, stepmom, and stepsister love my Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake and my stepbrothers love my Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.”

“You can always count on Melissa to brighten up the office with some homemade treats,” said Anthony Petrillo, Chief Revenue Officer at Pearl Media and unofficial taste tester. “It’s a wonderful testament to her character to see her bringing those tasty snacks to the good people on the front lines risking everything to keep us safe.”

Melissa’s volunteerism streak is nothing new. For the past three years she’s been a volunteer for the Samuel D.J. Cali Foundation, where she helps run all the events including the annual golf fundraiser.

 “Melissa may be small in stature, but her heart is big enough to fill the room.  Always thinking of others, and obsessed with baked goods,” said Jen Almeida, Chief Operating Officer at Pearl Media. “I think it’s great how she found a way to pair the two in order to help others!  I’m extremely proud to know a member of my team is doing what she can to spread kindness in this dark time.”

Melissa doesn’t plan on shutting down her home bakery anytime soon. Her favorite phrase around the office during crunch time is “Keep on swimming!” We’re sure the health care workers and first responders who’ve come to rely on her assortment of goods would change that to “Keep on baking!”

Well done, except now I have banana chocolate chip muffins in my head, and the thought will not be going away anytime soon!

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