The son of a father who works as director of engineering operations at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City and a mother who is an at-home nurse for the elderly, Sebastian Joseph-Day is keenly aware of COVID-19's impact on the United States.
However, what prompted the Rams defensive tackle to assist relief efforts was a March 25 New York Times article which provided a harrowing account of an overwhelmed New York City hospital – in print and in video with first-person accounts on the publication's website.
In the video, a doctor recorded herself walking through the emergency room in Elmhurst, Queens, revealing missing ventilators, that they were having to re-use the masks they were wearing and that they lacked space to treat all the coronavirus patients.
"I was sitting in bed, just watching it and my jaw dropped," Joseph-Day said in a video conference with local media Thursday. "I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't imagine the stress that they are under right now.' At that point, I knew that I definitely had to somehow contribute to our medical heroes."
Joseph-Day took action by donating $10,000 to the Edward Charles Foundation, funding 250 prepared meals for front line medical workers and their families.
Working with Director of Player Engagement Jacques McClendon and Vice President of Community Affairs Molly Higgins, Joseph-Day connected with downtown Los Angeles Italian restaurant Rossoblu and Chef Steve Samson to provide and deliver those meals to medical personnel at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center today.
Each worker received meal kits with braised short ribs, vegetables, soup, salad, and chocolate chip cookies to take home after their shifts.
"Thanks to Sebastian Joseph-Day's remarkable generosity, we were able to provide a comforting meal to the front-line workers at Cedars-Sinai, who are working so hard to protect and care for our city," Samson said in a press release.
"Just really happy that we were able to give back to all the heroes out there each and every day, working their tails off trying to keep us safe," Joseph-Day said.
The former Rutgers University standout receives continual reminders from his parents to do his part.
Joseph-Day said his father, Vivens Joseph-Day, has had to be smarter about how he commutes from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania to New York City, now driving himself to work instead of taking public transportation to minimize the risk.
"Every day I worry that my dad might have a chance to get it," Joseph-Day said. "But I just pray and talk to him each and every day, make sure everything's okay, make sure he has his masks and everything he needs."
Although his mother, Mirlande Joseph-Day, has taken time off from her demanding job for about a year – she calls often to encourage proper protocol.
"She calls me all the time, making sure I have gloves, masks, everything," Joseph-Day said. "I'm always washing my hands, I always have wipes while I'm training, I'm making sure I'm always wiping everything down, wiping the door handle. Mom's very big on all the cautious precautionary measures that you must take in this climate."
Today, he did his part – and then some.
"As we continue to confront this pandemic, we know that we are not alone because our community and the Los Angeles Rams are standing with us," said Arthur Ochoa, Chief Advancement Officer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in a press release. "Together we will manage this challenge and become stronger than ever before."