IMPERIAL VALLEY — Medical staff, volunteers, churches, filmmakers, and actors all came together to fight COVID-19 by feeding families Sunday, November 15, in the Hollywood-Vo Stars Showdown virtual event.

The online event held by El Centro’s Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic (VNMC), airing six clips of local dignitaries acting with professional actors from Los Angeles and New York as part of the nonprofit’s fundraiser to continue to provide free meals for COVID-19 patients throughout Imperial County.

The local VIPs acted in videos edited together within some of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, including scenes from The Godfather, On the Waterfront, 21 Grams, No Country for Old Man, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Pulp Fiction.

The event will continue to be on the VNMC Facebook page until December 2 to raise funds to continue to feed local families and help stop the spread of COVID-19, said RD Media Founder and Hollywood-Vo Creator Roy Dorantes.

“We cannot wish COVID-19 away, we can only work it away,” he said, “and by teaming up with Dr. Vo, Venus (Nguyen), and by joining the Vo Medical Neighborhood Clinic, we are joining a frontline battle against COVID-19.”

Nguyen — Dr. Vo’s wife and president of the VNMC — said during the presentation that in addition to the Vo Centers testing and treating patients with COVID, the Meals to Heal patient feeding program has been ongoing through their nonprofit arm every day since its inception.

Dorantes said the Meals to Heal Program has been ongoing since July and needs about $10,000 each month to continue feeding hundreds.

The presentation highlighted volunteers working in the program, spoke on how local churches have helped support the program to feed families, and had testimonies of recovered COVID-19 patients.

COVID-recovered patient and Calexico resident, Fernando Garcia, said he volunteers with the Meals to Heal Program “to give back a little to those that gave to us.”

“It was very difficult because (the virus) hit all of our family at the same time and there were five of us quarantined in our home at the same time,” he said in Spanish. “(The meals) were a great help because we … couldn't go out to the store. We had family helping us and (people) from the clinic brought us meals toward the end too. We are thankful to everyone that helped us.”

“We are very appreciative of all the local churches that have partnered up with (VNMC) in providing meals for the residents of Imperial County,” Nguyen said, “(and) a lot of local pastors that lent a helping hand in cooking the meals so that we can deliver these hot meals to patients who are on the road to recovery.”

Scene actors said the filming and acting process was a lot of fun and “an honor to be invited to do it,” said Imperial Mayor Darrell Pechtl.

“I was very proud with the way it turned out and I was proud of all the scenes I saw … with the work everybody did. It was terrific,” Pechtl said, “and I was really glad that I got to be some help to Dr. Vo and all the good work that they’re doing in the community.”

“I hope people continue to donate and support the efforts that Dr. Vo’s office is making to get food out into the COVID family’s hands,” he said. “It’s so important at this time.”

Dorantes said the public is encouraged to vote on the Best Performance by giving a “Like” on the Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic Facebook page and are also encouraged to donate.

Reporter

Roman has worked for multiple local news and non-profit orgs including IV Press and VW Mag, IVROP, St. JP2 Radio and is also with The Southern Cross. An El Centro native, he graduated from Marywood U in Scranton, Pennsylvania. rflores@thedesertreview.com

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