CHARLOTTESVILLE – Healthcare providers and local restaurants have teamed up with chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen. Food deliveries from Frontline Foods Charlottesville began the week of April 6th, with the official launch of the community effort on April 10th. Initial beneficiaries include Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, University of Virginia Hospital, and Charlottesville area first responders and were supported by food from Champion Hospitality Group, Pearl Island Catering, Mochiko, and Order Up! As needs scale up in the weeks ahead, additional restaurants will be onboarded to the program.
Frontline Foods Charlottesville is a community volunteer effort partnering with World Central Kitchen to provide meals initially to frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and expanding to community members in Charlottesville and central Virginia. Frontline Foods Charlottesville is moving towards a community-led effort.
Support with planning, coordination, and fundraising from local organizations such as the Blue Ridge Group and the 106 are laying the foundation for a powerful start. In addition, Frontline Foods is beginning to work with the Charlottesville Food Justice Network (CFJN), a program of Cultivate Charlottesville, to set up a local steering committee of representatives from the Regional Emergency Operations Center in the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle, Thomas Jefferson Health District, and other non-profit organizations. This steering committee will work to support equitable access to this emerging economic opportunity for restaurant owners, while ensuring Charlottesville’s food assistance to school aged children, people experiencing homelessness, seniors and others facing economic hardship is a priority alongside frontline health workers and first responders.
The Chris Long Foundation has also been leading a food relief effort, initially with school lunches and high-need communities. The Foundation partnered with City Schoolyard Garden (CSG), a program of Cultivate Charlottesville, to provide 4,000 meals to Charlottesville City School students over spring break. The meals were provided by Pearl Island Catering & Mochiko Cville and distributed with CSG staff and volunteers.
“World Central Kitchen is an efficient ready to go model that has been tried and tested throughout disasters taking place across the globe. I’m most excited about applying it here with a focused intention on building economic equity throughout the process of connecting philanthropic opportunity to the need, because what we’re facing now will likely build more devastating inequality in our community after the dust settles from COVID-19 depending on how we tackle it.” Shantell Bingham from Charlottesville Food justice Network said.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every part of our lives. Its effects have required an incredible call to action by the healthcare providers who are working in unprecedented conditions on the frontlines of response. At the same time, our local restaurants are facing difficult choices, though also have the capacity and experience to help feed our community.
“I believe there is a way to help both these groups – the restaurants suffering from business closures and those on the frontlines of COVID-19,” Hunter Smith with Champion Hospitality Group said.
Healthcare facilities across town will need help feeding overworked providers. And our much loved restaurants and their staff are barely getting by on to-go orders. Restaurants will get 100% of the cost for food and labor, and 100% of the meals will go to healthcare providers.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to have the support of World Central Kitchen but this will need to be a sustained effort and for that, we’ll need all the help we can get. If you would like to contribute or participate, we welcome your support as we serve our community and the brave warriors on our frontlines. We are just getting started and as support grows so will Frontline Foods Charlottesville and our ability to respond to community needs” said area resident John Kluge, who has been assisting volunteer efforts to bring the WCK partnership to Charlottesville.
World Central Kitchens has developed a proven model for food relief programs across the country and the world. They are serving as fiscal sponsor for this effort and have created a special page to support Frontline Foods Charlottesville: WCK.ORG/CVILLE . Please have a look and join us in showing our overwhelming appreciation to all healthcare providers with warm and healthy meals while supporting our local restaurants and their workers at the same time.