The ripple effect of efforts to contain the novel coronavirus is not yet fully known. But, children missing school-supplied meals and people struggling to feed their families are sadly becoming all too common. Luckily local nonprofits are stepping in to help by re-envisioning how to feed their communities. Two culinary-driven, innovative nonprofits are using their skills and expertise to make the biggest impact while fostering community, which is more important now than ever with people staying home.
DC Central Kitchen: Pre COVID-19, this nonprofit would combat hunger and poverty through job training and job creation, teaching skills to people who face high barriers to employment. Since the pandemic began, it has totally reimagined how to keep people fed, including operating to-go meal sites for youth at five public high schools in D.C. It is also partnering with other local nonprofits, faith communities, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to fund nine mobile feeding locations that serve to-go breakfasts and lunches. In just the first week of DC Central Kitchen’s response, the organization served 36,000 meals to the community— that’s more than 5,000 a day! Its deliveries to local shelters and nonprofit agencies now include an additional 450 meals per day, and it has now announced a price cut of up to 50 percent on its already discounted fresh, whole fruits and vegetables as part of its Healthy Corners program, which delivers fresh produce and healthy snacks to corner stores. It is also providing 200 daily meals to older adults facing food insecurity and helping its own culinary job training program and staff by offering bags of fresh produce.
When asked about maintaining community amid physical isolation, Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen said in a recent interview, “What we do know, and this is the beauty I think of the kitchen and this has always been what the kitchen has been about, is that food brings people together. Food creates community like nothing else.”
Read more about DC Central Kitchen’s response to COVID-19 here, along with ways you can help.
Café Momentum: Since 2015, this award-winning nonprofit restaurant in Dallas, Texas has offered 12-month paid internships to 750 youth recently released from the juvenile justice system in a program that builds culinary and life skills, confidence, and community. Now that the restaurant is closed due to the pandemic, these youth are eager to use their skills in new ways to help their community. Café Momentum has turned its traditional restaurant space into a packing station where instead of serving meals and clearing tables, interns are now putting together meal kits for food insecure youth in Dallas. Each meal kit feeds a family for four days. It has delivered over 100,000 “contactless” meal deliveries to date.
“It makes me feel like I’m actually part of something and I’m actually helping the community and helping with the things that are going on in our world right now.” – Café Momentum intern
For a similar story, read about how other nonprofits in the Stand Together community are taking their models virtual during COVID-19 and using physical fitness and the power of sport to build community and impact the lives of those in long-term addiction recovery, the formerly homeless, individuals exiting incarceration, and more.