Powerhouse Literary Couple Trades Books For Coronavirus Donations

Doug Sovern
March 24, 2020 - 9:18 am
Author Ayelet Waldman, of Berkeley, and her literary husband Michael Chabon are giving autographed copies of their books to people who donate gear that protects medical workers from coronavirus exposure.

Doug Sovern/KCBS Radio

Two well-known Berkeley authors are trying to help local restaurants and emergency rooms at the same time, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ayelet Waldman and her Pulitzer Prize-winning husband Michael Chabon say they need help with their simultaneous charity drives. They're working to feed hospital workers and collect surgical masks.

Waldman said that they will exchange a signed book for a box, or boxes, of N95 masks. 

"A lot of us have those N95 masks because of the fires and because of our earthquake kits," Walman told KCBS Radio.

In addition to running around town for mask-book transactions, she and Chabon run what she calls "Feed ER." They buy 25 meals at a time from local, independent restaurants and deliver both the meals and the masks to emergency room staff at Highland, Summit and Children's Hospitals.

Waldman said she's has been overwhelmed by restaurants that wish to participate. 

"I've been raising money so that we can keep going," Waldman said. "I imagine we have even more, but last time I checked we were close to $11,000."

Turning coronavirus anxiety into action is her way of keeping busy and staying sane during this surreal and stressful time.

"Because otherwise I get too scared," Waldman said. "I mean, seriously, if I stop moving, I'll just panic. And plus, this is what you do, right?"

Walman and Chabon are currently taking mask or monetary donations.

People can Venmo her at @Ayelet-Waldman, and they can email her at ayeletw@gmail.com.

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