Patrick the Giver: Tampa Bay man spends lunch breaks helping frontline workers and teachers

For The Culture

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Patrick Rhodes is an underwriter administrator by day. During his lunch breaks, he is a hero who helps heroes.

When Rhodes watched the news in March of last year, he saw how big of an impact the pandemic was having on health care workers and teachers, so he wanted to do something that could bring a smile to their faces and lighten their load for a brief moment.

“When the pandemic started, I just had to get involved in the community for sure,” Rhodes said. “I use my lunch breaks to deliver meals to the healthcare workers.”

With his car, his own two hands and his own two feet, Rhodes picks up food and delivers meals to local hospitals. Last year, he delivered close to 700 meals. However, he wanted to take his mission to the next level for 2021.

“I didn’t know how, but a local foundation reached out to me and I said I will help you with that vision,” Rhodes said.

With the help of the Lighthouse Foundation and big name brands like Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin Donuts, Arby’s and more, Rhodes is able to hand deliver food to health care workers at local hospitals twice a week every week.

“Words can’t describe what he’s doing for the staff and what he’s doing for them because it is difficult for them to get off the unit and get a meal,” said Nicolle Henning, Director of Nursing at Advent Health Tampa.

“It’s really not just the meals that Patrick brought us, it’s the outreach in the community reminds us that everyone knows we are here and we are working hard,” said Jennifer Eddings, a nurse manager in the COVID-19 ICU at Advent Health Tampa.

“I’m just trying to make a change in someone’s life,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes’ goal is to deliver 2,021 meals to healthcare workers by the end of the year. He has delivered 1,410 meals thus far, so he has 611 more to go.

When Rhodes isn’t helping healthcare workers, he’s helping local teachers.

“I would read through my feed on social media just the teachers saying we need this, we need this,” he said.

So he has been helping teachers “clear the list.” It’s an Amazon initiative where teachers upload their school supply wish list and people can purchase those items. In February, Rhodes received the 2021 AT&T Black Future Maker Award. He received reward money for his efforts and with that money he is helping clear their lists.

“It’s all about giving back, giving of yourself and being selfless,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes has provided school supplies to more than a dozen Tampa Bay teachers so far. One of those being Jennifer White from Wendell Watson Elementary School in Lakeland.

“He’s made an impact on teachers in the community and Tampa Bay is lucky to have someone like him,” White said.

Rhodes has even expanded his mission to providing lunch to teachers as well. He hopes to one day start his own foundation so that he can continue his selfless efforts.

To help Rhodes’ with his mission, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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