Like you, we’ve spent the past few weeks working alongside clients and friends making hard decisions through the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve volunteered to do pro bono PR work for folks severely impacted by the crisis – Boulder and Denver farmers – and we’ve been impressed and cheered as we see people step up to help others in need. Here are a few of our favorite “people doing good”:
One of the first to respond, Avanti Food and Beverage forged an alliance with other restaurants to launch Operation Family Meal, a non-profit on a mission to feed Denver’s hospitality industry employees affected by COVID-19 closings. Family sized meals are distributed 12-2pm (M,W,F) on a first-come, first served basis to those who bring any form of ID and proof of past restaurant/bar/hospitality employment. Partner restaurants include Brava! Pizzeria, Meta, Bistro Georgette, Restaurant Olivia, Denver Central Market DIA , Blackbelly, Il Posto, American Elm, Highland Tap & Burger, and Brider, with more joining every day. If you love this idea and want to donate/volunteer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to their website.
CHOW, a program founded by John Hinman, owner of Hinman’s Bakery, is partnering with Operation Family Meal. Among their many contributions are volunteering, donating to-go packaging and food, staffing meal pick-up locations, lending commissary kitchen use and even offering free mental health therapy services with professional therapist Heather Lundy from Khesed Wellness. John says, “Our hope is that this program will ease the stress and fears around this unprecedented situation and provide impacted restaurant workers with a sense of family during such a difficult time.”
The Flatirons Food Film Festival has come up with a fun and easy way to support our local restaurants. Their weekly Dinner and a Movie night starts Friday April 24th. A $5, featured food film will be available to stream online, paired with specific recommended meals related to the film that viewers can order, pick up or have delivered, and eat while watching the movie. Sign up for the event on their webpage.
Nonprofit Barzero is currently offering their service delivering catered meals to substance use organizations, and others in need of food. Contact them at email@example.com to volunteer or donate money, or if you’re an organization in need of food/meal donations.
The folks running the Boulder County Farmers Markets (Boulder, Denver, Lafayette and Longmont) are setting up a “virtual” online market due to launch during the week of April 19. Orders placed during the week will be available for pick up the following Saturday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. They’ve also put together this “Find Your Farmer” resource to help people find and support farmers who are offering CSA’s, farm stands, farm ordering/delivery, etc.
Friend of the local food movement, Jimena Zamora of Comino Food Stories has been collaborating with other food bloggers like Boulder Foodie, Fork & Path, Julie Likes Food and New Denizen to put together a series of interactive maps showing restaurants that offer curbside pickup and delivery in Boulder, Longmont, Denver, LoDo and all its burbs. Find the maps here.
Along the same vein,ToGoDenver.com, a website by Visit Denver, now connects you to nearly 300 eateries offering pick up and delivery. The site allows you to sort through area restaurants, organizing them by neighborhood or cuisine, and directs you straight to their website to place an order.
Here’s an awesome article by Westword Food & Drink Editor Mark Antonation listing local organizations that are going above and beyond to assist hospitality and service industry workers, offering practical ways you can help. And here’s another great article, this time by 303 Magazine, that highlights “35 Local Food and Beverage Businesses that Are Supporting Healthcare Workers Right Now”.
Nationally, relief efforts abound. A few of our favorites are:
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant Employee Relief Fund is set up for individuals who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. All donations go directly to restaurant workers in the form of grants.
The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation is also taking donations to help individual restaurant workers and give loans to struggling restaurants.
The James Beard Foundation a nonprofit organization, has started the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund to provide critical financial assistance to small, independent restaurants that, due to COVID-19, have an immediate need for funds to pay set operating expenses and keep from going out of business. They have currently suspended their application process due to overwhelming response – but keep them on your radar if this describes your area of need.
Who did we miss, who are your favorites? Please comment here. Stay well, and stay connected everyone!