Many of us are wondering what we can do to help during the coronavirus pandemic. We can order takeout from our favorite local restaurants and applaud hospital workers, but, at least for me, it feels like I should be doing more.
At least one initiative has sprung up to help both restaurants and medical professionals. Frontline Foods is a donation-based platform that purchases and delivers food from local restaurants to hospital workers fighting COVID-19. One of the organizers, Joel Wishkovsky, came up with the idea just a few weeks ago (it feels like eons ago!) and started a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy food from local restaurants with which to feed hospital workers.
Pretty soon, he started to see folks in other cities working on similar initiatives. So he founded FrontlineFoods.org as a platform to centralize the grassroots efforts. “We provide tools, processes, and national funding for all of these local chapters,” Wishkovsky told me over the phone yesterday.
Less than two weeks in and Frontline Foods has already raised over $700,000 and delivered over 7,000 meals to healthcare workers. So far Frontline Foods is currently available in nine urban areas, from Austin, TX to Silicon Valley. You can donate to your local city or choose to donate nationally, in which case the organization itself will decide where to allocate the funds. Local restaurants apply to become part of Frontline Foods’ network, and all food is delivered either by the restaurant itself or by volunteers.
Today Frontline Foods announced its partnership with the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK), helmed by celebrity chef José Andres. WCK typically drops chefs in to feed hungry people in disaster-stricken areas. But in this crisis, Wishkovsky said that WCK was looking for a way to help the disaster that is supporting a restaurant during COVID-19. WCK will provide 501C3 backing for Frontline Foods and help them vet restaurant partners.
No Frontline Foods branch in your city? Don’t fret. You can also take initiative and petition to start your own chapter locally as long as you’re comfortable with putting together a team and leading fundraising (admittedly no small task).
If you want to do something a little less involved but still help out, you can also donate to Frontline Foods here.