How to help feed unemployed workers, hospital staff, school kids and others in need around Denver

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A group of Boulder community members on Monday donated $200,000 to help keep a handful of restaurants running while making meals for medical workers.

The organizers of Feed the Frontlines Boulder hope to double their initial investment, raising $400,000 in order to provide two months of meals for healthcare providers. They also have created a template for others to follow their lead in cities across Colorado.

In Denver, the restaurant group behind Tap & Burger, Señor Bear, Mister Oso, Bar Dough, Morin and Ash’Kara launched the Nancy Fund to help feed more than 300 members of their staff daily and continue providing many of them with healthcare throughout the shutdown.

Named after a customer who donated the first $14,000, the Nancy Fund has now raised more than $55,000.

At a downtown Denver sandwich and wine shop, Leven Deli, customers who order carryout from a walkup window can also choose to donate meals to first responders. They can purchase sandwiches, salads and cookies to feed five or 10 frontline workers for $66-$132.

These are just some of the restaurant meal programs that can be utilized during the coronavirus shutdown. Many of the businesses involved also continue to offer delivery and curbside pickup daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are a dozen current initiatives to keep people fed during the coronavirus shutdown.

Feeding Colorado healthcare workers
Feed the Frontlines so far has raised more than $230,000 that will provide more than 30 days of meals for medical providers at Boulder Community Health. The nonprofit partners with Boulder restaurants Salt, Big Red F Restaurant Group, Kitchen Next Door, Japango, Blackbelly, Santo and Community Kitchen Table, with all proceeds going to the restaurants’ staff.

Send Goods to Healthcare Workers is a smaller-scale effort from Jubilee Roasting Co. in partnership with Patter Bar, Third Culture Bakery, Annette and Stowaway Kitchen. Donations range from $2.50 for a cup of coffee to $11 for a full meal. “We are working closely with our local hospitals to find workers that are most in need,” Jubilee’s website says.

Feeding Colorado Heroes has raised more than $10,000 (of a $25,000 goal) to provide meals to hospital workers in Denver. So far, they’ve fed emergency room and intensive care workers at Denver Health and North Suburban. On average, a $100 donation feeds 12 people. Organizer Prim Communications partnered with Restaurant Olivia and Encore Catering for their first week of deliveries.

Frontline Foods Denver is part of a national program currently with 10 spinoffs in cities around the country. To kick off the Denver launch, The Bindery is donating 100 meals to Swedish Medical Center this week. Restaurants, donors and hospitals interested in participating can sign up at the Frontline Foods website. A donation of $50 feeds a team of three hospital employees while $500 feeds a small emergency room or intensive care unit.
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not all heroes wear capes. learn more about the team behind our twice-weekly Friends and Family Meal during their interview with @thedenverchannel (link in bio). our GM @marika___e has been working hard on the initiative, alongside @theryannegley + @friendsfamilyco to bring meals to those recently unemployed in the hospitality trade.⁣ ⁣ to donate, become a corporate sponsor or for details about registering for the program visit if you're looking for other ways to support our independent businesses at Zeppelin Station order from our array of vendors this week – @larolaurbancolombianfood, @vinhxuongzeppelin, @dandy_lion_coffee, @thebudlong and @hamburger.stan. pro tip: call 716-262-9927 to take advantage of our free, in-house delivery service – available 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. #zeppelinstation #inthistogether⁣ ⁣ #pc: @lustrepearldenver⁣ ⁣

A post shared by Zeppelin Station (@zeppelinstation) on Mar 29, 2020 at 11:46am PDT

Feeding restaurant employees
Restaurant Workers Relief is a program from Safta in partnership with Lee Initiative, a restaurant worker relief program, and Maker’s Mark. From 3 to 5 p.m. seven days a week at The Source Hotel, Safta hands out as many as 300 to-go meals and household supplies to recently laid-off restaurant workers. Qualified individuals can go to the Source Market Hall’s parking lot during that timeframe to receive a meal until supplies run out.

Friends & Family Meal provides to-go meals for unemployed hospitality workers from Zeppelin Station and its various vendors. From noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, qualifying individuals can text their full name, phone number and email address to 716-262-9834 and pick up the day’s meal outside the food hall. Those interested in participating or donating can check the nonprofit’s Facebook page for updates.

Operation Family Meal offers meals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from participating restaurants and food halls Avanti, Quiero Arepas, Olivia, Il Posto, American Elm and Sloan’s Lake Tap & Burger. Unemployed workers must bring some form of identification and proof of past hospitality employment. The program is coordinated by a local hospitality wellness nonprofit, Chow, which also is providing online counseling services from Khesed Wellness.

Colorado Family Meal prepares three meals for every $10 donation with the help of local chefs Adam Vero and Jeff Hickman. The Colorado Bartenders Guild is behind the effort, supplying meals on Wednesdays and Saturdays from a pickup location that’s designated ahead of time on the group’s website. This week’s location is Pony Up. Customers must fill out a form two days prior to each service.

Feeding others in need
Denver Metro Emergency Food Network‘s goal is to raise $25,000 by April 12 and serve 50,000 meals to homebound families and elderly in need by the end of the month. A $25 donation provides four meals while $100 provides 20 meals. Local food partners include Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Lost City Denver, Rosenberg’s Bagels and The Fresh Guys produce. Anyone interested in donating or joining the waitlist to receive deliveries can head to

Edible Beats restaurants (Linger, Root Down, El Five, Ophelia’s and Vital Root) are currently bringing 250 meals a night to children and their families from five Denver Public Schools: Brown, Edison & Sandoval; Trevista; Whittier; Columbian and Bryant-Webster. Any food from the program that is not picked up is donated the next day to Urban Peak, which serves youth experiencing homelessness in the metro area. The Vital Root team will also start delivering breakfasts to the Anschutz Medical Campus next week.

Colorado Restaurant Response‘s goal is to provide more than 225,000 ready-to-heat meals and employ more than 100 restaurant workers through the end of the shutdown in Colorado. If they succeed, they say at least 10 restaurant kitchens will be reopened in the process. This group is also working with the Metro Emergency Food Network and local nonprofit Bondadosa.

Cherry Cricket will donate a meal for every one it sells via takeout or delivery, starting April 3. Customers buying a meal for themselves can request to donate a second meal to “someone who needs it — a grandparent, neighbor, hospital worker, teacher, friend — anyone who could use a meal delivered right now,” according to a Cricket representative. The meals will consist of food that can be easily shared and reheated for leftovers.

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