PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- The Arizona Cardinals say they have gotten an overwhelming response to a new program designed to lend a helping hand to folks during these uncertain times.

On Monday, the team announced a new initiative to assist independent, locally-owned restaurants that have been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 crisis, while also recognizing nurses, doctors and other medical personnel.

The campaign is called the"Cardinals Carry-out" program. Throughout the campaign, the team will be highlighting select restaurants and coffee shops as well as "heroes" in the healthcare community.

So far, the program is being met with enthusiasm. In just the first 24 hours since the launch, fans submitted more than 500 nominations of locally-owned establishments. These nominations are in the process of being reviewed and added to the interactive map of “Cardinals Carry-out” restaurants.

And, the first “Healthcare Heroes” were recognized on Monday evening, when nurses and doctors on the night shift at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa received meals on the program’s first day.

"Locally-owned restaurants are the heart and soul of a community," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. "They are what make the places we live special and give them their identity. We know they are hurting right now and we are calling on Cardinals fans to not only support them as customers but also share their favorites with the Red Sea as well. This also gives us the chance to show our gratitude to those in the medical community working tirelessly each day to care for those affected by the Coronavirus crisis."

Here are the details of how "Cardinals Carry-out" works:

INTERACTIVE STATEWIDE RESTAURANT MAP

An interactive statewide map that is available at both azcardinals.com/cardinalscarryout and the Cardinals downloadable app will showcase local restaurants that are open for business and providing food for pick-up or delivery. Each establishment on the map is marked with a "Cardinals Carry-out" icon. When clicked, it will display the restaurant's hours of operation, address, phone number and a link to its menu.

FAVORITES OF CARDINALS PLAYERS AND FANS 

Initially, establishments on the map reflect the favorites of Cardinals players and staff as well as those suggested by Local First Arizona for their proximity to area hospitals. But fans also have the opportunity to nominate their top spots for inclusion on the map which will be constantly updated and expanded.

 
In the spirit of the upcoming NFL Draft, restaurants and coffee shops will be selected for special recognition each day from April 13-24.
 
RECOGNIZING "HEALTHCARE HEROES"
 
The Cardinals will then purchase meals from the selected establishments for distribution to the Healthcare Heroes on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic working at local hospitals and facilities. 
 
 
 

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