World Central Kitchen Is Helping Feed Hospital Workers in Los Angeles by Buying Meals From Local Restaurants

"Feed the Frontline" started with one big meal; now the plan is to serve hundreds of doctors and nurses each day with help from the José Andrés-backed charity and GoFundMe donations.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) may be done chasing coronavirus-infected cruises across the globe: Chef José Andrés's innovative not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing food to those in times of need served meals when ships arrived in both Yokohama, Japan, and Oakland, California. But their work helping during the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that WCK has teamed up with a new organization in L.A. planning to get free meals to medical staff.

Sliding doors of emergency room in hospital
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Feed the Frontline—as the program is called—actually began as a single good deed. A group of local moms looking to help asked an intensive care nurse at a nearby Kaiser hospital what she needed. Her response: protective gear and "a decent meal." Able to help with the latter, they reportedly put together a delivery order from the small Southern California chain Marmalade Cafe to feed 75 doctors and nurses.

"We heard from these medical heroes how important this support is for them while they are working under taxing conditions with no time to care for themselves," Feed the Frontline explained. "A 'decent meal' offered both practical support and also provided emotional support, demonstrating our community's gratitude for their brave dedication."

As a result, this week, that group of moms has "expanded and formalized" its efforts by officially teaming up with WCK, as the Times wrote, and now they're planning to provide healthy meals for 450 intensive care and emergency room workers across six hospitals in the area—working with restaurants including Local, Thyme Cafe, Pacifique, Bacari, M Cafe, and Playa Provisions (run by Chef Brooke Williamson who is also helping as a coordinator). Feed the Frontline points out that buying these meals from local restaurants also helps them "keep the lights on" during these difficult times.

If things go well, Feed the Frontline and WCK plan to expand the number of hospitals they send meals to; however, they are actively seeking donations both on the WCK website and through GoFundMe. If you have money to give, the charity could use the help: "Our partner restaurants will be delivering lunch and dinner—at an average cost of $25 per person per day so our daily cost is $11,000+ for the initial 450 staff and will ramp as quickly as our funding can support—because the need is already there. As this scales, the daily cost is likely to exceed $100,000 per day." The GoFundMe goal is set at $3 million.

"For the amount of a morning Starbucks run, a working lunch, or a family dinner out which we are no longer doing; supporting our Frontline workers is a way to meaningfully give back in this time of need and crisis. As parents, it's an opportunity to show our children as a family, or from their very own piggy banks, what it means to be a member of a community, and how coming together is the only way we can all get through this with more compassion and humanity," Feed the Frontline writes on its GoFundMe page. "Please join us at any level—we know many families are suffering economically and any amount is meaningful as every dollar counts!"

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