Anthony Giordano (center) and his wife Lisa of St. Monica Parish in South Philadelphia helped raise more than $3,000 to provide some 500 first responders with pizza lunches, which the couple (left and center) delivered March 31, assisted by fellow parishioner Bruce Stranix (right) and Anthony Boris (not pictured) of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, March 31. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Giordano)

A few South Philadelphia parishioners recently showed their appreciation for hospital staff and first responders working to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Anthony and Lisa Giordano of St. Monica Parish spearheaded a March 31 delivery of fresh pizza, strombolis, hoagies and salads to some 500 Philadelphia police and firefighters, as well as emergency care teams at Methodist Hospital.

The couple were joined in the effort by friends Anthony Boris of nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Bruce Stranix of Stella Maris Parish.

For the Giordanos, the outreach was part of an ongoing commitment to their neighborhood, which earlier this year inspired them to found the grassroots organization Stand Up South Philly and Take Back Our Streets. The movement works to improve the quality of life throughout that section of the city.

Now counting more than 9,100 members, Stand Up quickly raised more than $3,000 through online donations to cover the cost of the meals, which were purchased from Celebre’s Pizza and P & S Ravioli in South Philadelphia.

Anthony Giordano said the project was a way of “taking care of frontline workers while supporting local businesses,” many of which are struggling as a result of the pandemic.

The four-person volunteer group took extra precautions to ensure safe delivery of the meals, wearing protective gear and maintaining social distance — and even riding in separate vehicles, one of which was loaned free of charge by Global Limousine.

The reception was “overwhelming,” said Giordano.

“One lieutenant said, ‘I appreciate what you do,’ and for him to say that to us hit home,” he recalled. “It was humbling.”

Giordano said his faith inspires him to seek ways to encourage others in the community, especially in times of crisis.

“Right now, people may be questioning God, and asking, ‘Why is this pandemic happening?’” he said. “But what we’re doing should strengthen people’s faith, and when all this is done, I think it’s going to bring people closer to the Lord.”