In times where the news seems bleaker than ever, it’s encouraging to be able to report on uplifting stories, however small. So I was happy to receive a press release from Simply Good Jars, a Philadelphia-based startup that sells fresh meals in reusable jars via smart RFID-enabled fridges. It places these fridges in high traffic spots like offices and hospitals so people can grab-and-go with a healthier meal than, say, a bag of chips or candy bar.
The company reached out to let us know that they were pivoting from the smart fridge model to a delivery one. Under the new model, folks in the Philly area can order eight Simply Good Jars salads that will be delivered to their door on a weekly basis through April 8. There’s no delivery fee and the jars will not be collected for reuse. If you live in Philadelphia and are interested you can sign up here.
That’s interesting in itself — a smart fridge-oriented company pivoting to delivery — but what caught our eye was what followed that announcement: Simply Good Jars is also offering free meals to hospital workers at the three hospitals that normally already have their smart fridges. In a time when many healthcare professionals are working grueling hours under tons of stress, a free, fresh meal is not just a nicety, but critical.
Simply Good Jars isn’t the only company stepping up. Sweetgreen is reappropriating its Outpost operations to deliver free salads and bowls (in newly compostable containers!) to hospital workers in the cities Sweetgreen currently serves. Outpost is Sweetgreen’s delivery-catering hybrid service that sets up batched delivery drop-off sites in offices of larger companies. I’m not sure how many hospitals have an Outpost — it seems more targeted towards tech companies — but if you work at a health facility and want a Sweetgreen Outpost there, you can head to bit.ly/sgimpactoutpost to request one.
For those who want something a little more comfort food-y, &Pizza is offering free, unlimited pizza pies to hospital workers who show identification. If they’re unable to leave their post, workers can text 200-03#HERO to get a code which they can use to get their pie delivered.
Obviously these offers aren’t entirely selfless. Giving away free product to healthcare workers is a smart marketing strategy as well as, you know, the right thing to do. But in times when everything seems pretty bleak, we’ll take good news where we can find it. Feeding hospital workers is an important way to support those on the front lines fighting the outbreak — and it’s also an encouraging show of humanity and community support.
Plus, these actions could encourage similar foodservice companies, especially those with deep pockets, to start their own service to feed medical professionals.
In fact, why stop at hospital workers? I’d love to see Chipotle and other healthy-ish fast casual chains sending food to low-income residents, seniors and other groups that are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (with proper distancing and sanitation precautions, of course). Because these are tough times — but they become a little easier if we’re well-nourished. It’s time for more foodservice companies to step up.
If you know of any other restaurants or foodservice establishments feeding hospital workers (or other high-need groups) drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post to let us know!