Frontline Foods, a grassroots organization feeding medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, announced a partnership with World Central Kitchen (WCK) to expand their program to frontline COVID workers and struggling restaurants in Chicago and across the United States. The program has gone live in 33 cities with over 300 volunteers.
The program has already fed over 22,000 meals to frontline workers and supported more than 125 restaurants by helping them provide food for healthcare workers. “We’re scaling meals we send and restaurants we support extremely quickly,” said organizer Frank Barbieri. “It’s having a massive impact on both groups. The numbers don’t always tell the human impact these actions have in the community. A number of restaurants have already been able to hire back furloughed staff to support the demand from Frontline Foods groups” to feed healthcare workers.
“We are moving at the speed and urgency of this emergency,” said organizer Ryan Sarver, adding that, “by working with local restaurants to provide food for healthcare workers we’re putting money back into our communities and supporting frontline workers with nourishment and a show of solidarity.”
World Central Kitchen is an international nonprofit relief organization led by chef José Andrés whose mission is to use the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis and beyond. WCK’s experience in fundraising, disaster relief, and food preparation for hard-hit communities combined with Frontline Foods’ grassroots restaurant and frontline healthcare worker network will enable both organizations to help more people in vulnerable communities nationwide.
“World Central Kitchen is a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to those who need them most. We are proud that this initiative with Frontline Foods will help activate even more restaurants and kitchens to feed our brave medical professionals on the front lines, in order to make a meaningful impact in the fight to keep everyone fed, and to support the distressed restaurant industry,” World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook emphasized.
“Frontline Foods is a novel approach to supporting two groups devastated by the COVID-19 crisis,” said organizer Joel Wishkovsky. “Frontline healthcare workers across the country are putting their lives on the line every day as their institutions struggle to feed and supply them through this crisis. At the same time, our local communities have forced the shutdown of thousands of restaurants and put millions of restaurant workers out of a job.”
Part of what makes this approach so powerful is how all these communities have come together to share resources and maximize impact. Sarver and Barbieri wrote a call to arms to help bring people together. Since then, Frontline Foods has brought many of those groups together under one organization, providing best practices, standard tools, branding, and mentorship. “This maximizes impact, gives us national fundraising scale, and enables us to reach all those in need,” said Barbieri.
Along with this partnership, Frontline Foods is also launching a national donation-matching program with a $200,000 matching grant from top donors and looking for contributions at the national and local levels. Visit their website to learn more about this and other Frontline Foods initiatives. When you donate to Frontline Foods, 100% of your donation goes to restaurants providing meals for hospital workers. Log on to www.frontlinefoods.org/.