Friday Fun Food Facts – April 24, 2020

People Doing Good

This is what it is all about. People doing good. People helping people. And there is no more generous group than those in the hospitality industry – and ironically, these are some of the hardest hit in today’s current environment. Yet, they keep giving. Here are some people/groups facing adversity and tackling it head-on with some incredible creativity. If you know of others, please email me at [email protected] so that we can highlight them next week.

NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund 

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) just launched the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, a state-wide resource to provide fast access to cash grants for North Carolina restaurant and hotel workers immediately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort will consolidate funds collected through the Triangle Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.  Tens of thousands of restaurant and hotel employees are now facing significant financial hardships as businesses curtail services in efforts to encourage social distancing and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Donate here if you can!    

Durham Neighbors Free Lunch Initiative

Following Durham Public School closures, it was apparent that students would be faced with food security challenges.  Elijah King, a student at RIverside High, launched a program to help fill the need. He reached out to local business owner Grant Ruhlman (Homebucha Kombucha) who had already been in contact with local farmer George O’Neil (Lil Farm) about a similar project. They formed a team and began organizing, adding Andy Magowan (Geer Street Garden) as a partner to prepare the meals. With a successful initial fundraising effort, they are providing 100 meals a day, 5 days per week. Let’s keep it going! Donate here.

Healthcare Hero Response Fund

The North Carolina Healthcare Association is partnering with locally owned restaurants in communities across the state to provide meals to healthcare heroes who are on the front lines of caring for patients and communities in this pandemic. This effort will both nourish the bodies and souls of physicians, nurses and other healthcare heroes and boost local economies during a time of acute need. They will initially focus on communities where the virus is hitting hardest, activating the program in other communities across the state as community interest and resources allow. Donate here.    

Hope For Hospitality

This is an initiative spearheaded by G. Patel and other friends in the hospitality industry to provide free meals for Raleigh area hospitality workers during the tough times brought by COVID-19. Each weekday, workers in the industry will be able to receive a free meal from one of the participating partners. If you’d like to donate to this initiative, click here. If you are a hospitality worker, follow this link to get a free meal each week day.    

Feed The Fight 

Feed The Fight in Chapel Hill and Feed The Fight in Durham are community fundraisers providing fresh meals from local restaurants to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the front lines. Their goal is to raise money to pay restaurants to provide 50 $10-$15 meals at a time to be delivered to a healthcare facility in their community. Visit their Go Fund Me pages to donate to Chapel Hill here and Durham here

Love & Nourish

Buy a Family Pack (feeds 4 + leftovers!) for $60, and $10 goes back to help provide meals to families in need identified by Families Moving Forward, Durham Public School Foundation, Sunday Supper Durham and End Hunger Durham. Visit the Love and Nourish website here.    

Quick update on Love & Nourish – because of community support, foundation support and their own giving, they are now feeding 300+ low income seniors, 6,000 families and 250 homeless citizens every week through the generous donations and foundations supporting them!   

Don’t Forget the Pets!

Friends of Wake County Animal Center, is offering FREE pet food and essentials to Wake County service/restaurant industry workers whose hours have been reduced or eliminated due to CoronaVirus closures. The application is simple and their No Empty Bowl Project has already provided food for over 1000 animals. Get all the details on their website here.

Restaurants Doing Good

Thrive NC announced that they will be donating $120,000 to the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. This money is coming from donations plus $40,000 in original ticket sales donated by attendees instead of refunded, The third annual Thrive NC Festival presented by Blue Cross NC, originally scheduled for May 7-8 at City Market in downtown Raleigh, has been postponed a year until May 20-21, 2021 due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Visit them here.

WRAL reported this week that Trophy Brewing has teamed up with Sysco Foods and Bridge The Gap Mission to offer hospitality workers free groceries. Those needing groceries should go to Trophy Brewing’s Maywood Avenue location Monday through Saturday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, Trophy Brewing on Morgan Street is offering “Pay it Forward” pizzas, where people can buy a pizza for someone in need. At State of Beer, people can do the same with sandwiches. Visit Trophy here

Happy + Hale is offering frontline hospital workers their Kindness Bowl, made with herb roasted chicken, warm black beans, brown rice + tomatillo vinaigrette. You can send a bowl to a frontline hospital worker for $5 by ordering here.

As part of a new initiative from local coffee roaster Joe Van Gogh, Fuel for the Frontlines is coordinating donations of coffee + baked goods for healthcare professionals at UNC Hospitals (Chapel Hill), Duke Hospital (Raleigh and Durham), grocery workers at Whole Foods, Food Lion, and Weaver Street Market (Durham and Chapel Hill), and first responders with the Durham Police Department. Community members can help support these efforts here

STIR has partnered with Feed the Fight to help support Raleigh’s first responders and community members with the most need. Donated funds will support the restaurant’s efforts to provide meals for the city’s homeless population, 911 call center workers and residents of the Women’s Center and Raleigh Rescue Mission. Support them here

The folks over at Jersey Mike’s are doing a two day promotion donating to Feeding America this Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26. Jersey Mike’s will be donating 20% of all sales back to Feeding America on these two days. Learn more about Feeding America here. Order from Jersey Mike’s here

Consider donating Potbelly food from their newly launched Potbelly Pantry or Potbelly sandwiches to a local organization of your choice. For a limited time, they will match your food donation, dollar for dollar. Whether it’s a church, a hospital, or neighborhood family you would like to reward. Visit them here

Catering Works has partnered with the NCRLA on a Gift-A-Meal program to support displaced hospitality workers due to the COVID 19 pandemic. They are offering a variety of different gift-a-meal options to feed their industry – $49 – 4 Meals  4 entrees, sides and desserts; $99 – 8 Meals including 8 entrees, sides and desserts; and $199 – 16 Meals  including 16 entrees, sides and desserts. Get all the details and donate here.

Rocky Top Catering and Overflowing Hands are partnering together with a goal to distribute meal packs every Monday and Thursday while kids are not in school. Rocky Top is donating their talent, trucks and supplies so the cost of each meal is just $2. Overflowing Hands is coordinating food distribution, volunteers, prayers and fundraising. They need $10,000 per week to provide 2,500+ meals to hungry kids every Monday and Thursday. 100% of your donation will buy the food to prepare these meals, with NO fees or administration costs. Support them here.

The folks over at Makus Empanadas (Durham & Raleigh) have launched a “Pay It Forward” Initiative that has two options. Purchase a dozen empanadas, you will receive another dozen for free to share with a community member who is at risk, including the elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions, and the healthcare professionals who are on the front lines battling every day. OR, if you’d rather stay at home and have them deliver the empanadas, for every $50 you purchase in Gift Cards, they will donate and deliver a dozen empanadas to the institution, business, or family of your choice! Place your order here.

Chris Wrenn of Old North State Catering in Fuquay-Varina has started a cool initiative called Project Front Line to provide free food to healthcare workers, police, fire and EMS are working hard to battle the spread of the coronavirus and keep our community safe. They are doing two things: one, delivering hot meals to the front lines; and two, providing essentials for these workers when they get off their shift. If you’d like to support this effort, get all the details here.

Robert Royster and his team over at Ruckus Pizza & Pasta are Raising A Ruckus for Front Line Healthcare Workers. They’ll provide dinner to different hospital groups every Tuesday as long as they can – $7.50 buys one Healthcare Worker a Dinner; $15.00 buys Two Healthcare Workers Dinner; 60 buys Eight Healthcare Workers Dinner; $120 buys 16 Healthcare Workers Dinner; $240 buys a whole department Dinner. Visit their GoFundMe page here.

The good people at Relish in Raleigh are accepting and matching donations for family meals and macs that they are delivering to the Interfaith Food Shuttle, Rex Hospital healthcare workers and to anyone who asks us personally for a free meal. $11 will donate a medium mac (serves 4-5) and $25 will donate a medium family meal (includes mac, salad, and bread). They are matching each donation-so technically each donates two. Visit Relish ToGo here and their family meals to go here.

Kudos to David Sadeghi and his restaurant group – Town Hall Burger & Beer, People’s Coffee, Town Hall Grill, and the recently opened O’Ya Cantina. Thanks to an anonymous donor and their significant contribution, they have donated countless meals to UNC Hospitals, local fire departments, sheriff departments and police departments. They will continue to donate 10% of the proceeds from the opening of O’Ya to continue this program. Visit O’Ya here or his other restaurants here, here and here.    

The folks over at The Simple Greek in Raleigh have an option to add the Gyro Hero Bowl(s) to your cart and proceed to checkout. You can add it with a meal for yourself or donate only. They then deliver donated bowls to coordinated food drops to local medical care centers. Additionally, they have donated meals to Wake Med, Duke Raleigh, the Covid 19 Testing Department at Wake Med and the Cardiology Department at Duke Raleigh. Order your Gyro Hero Bowl today.     

Kudos to the folks over at Venable Carrboro Bistro and their NCFEEDER project that began with generous donations amounting to $2,000 from Venable customers and friends of UNC Hospital. They are now providing  meals to UNC Hospital employees. Get all the details here.    

The folks over at Living Fit have been delivering brown bag lunches to a local shelter in need and they have added “Food Bank Donations” tab that you can add to your orders and they will match up to 100% of those total donations each week to send to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Every $1 donated can feed five people! Visit Living Fit here.       

Keep Ordering From Our Restaurants!

Order takeout! You love their food (and you are tired of cooking) – just swing by and pick it up! 

The folks over at Triangle On The Cheap have a mega-list of restaurants throughout the Triangle doing pick-up and curbside. Check it out here. Oh, and beer! Triangle on the Cheap also has compiled a list of 32+ breweries that are offering curbside pick-up or delivery options across the Triangle. Check that list out here.

Don’t forget to buy gift cards that you can use later! Help them over the short-term hump. This is not the perfect solution, but cash (flow) is king right now. Even better, go ahead and get ALL your holiday shopping done NOW! Who doesn’t love a restaurant gift card as a gift? That’s a win, win, win! For many restaurants, you can do this online – even better!    

Food Bank Corner

In addition to all they are doing to serve our communities, here are a couple of initiatives with a direct impact on the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

The folks at Firsthand Foods set up the Firsthand Foods Community Fund, a donation program that provides pasture-raised local meat to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. For every dollar donated, they deliver an equivalent amount of meat to the Food Bank, which serves food pantries, soup kitchens and after school programs throughout 34 counties. More details can be found on their website and this Facebook event here.

The folks over at Living Fit have been delivering brown bag lunches to a local shelter in need and they have added a “Food Bank Donations” tab that you can add to your orders and they will match up to 100% of those total donations each week to send to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Every $1 donated can feed five people! Visit Living Fit here.

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