Off Their Plate, Inc., a national grassroots movement to address the economic and health crises of the coronavirus pandemic, launched in Chicago this week, partnering local restaurants with hospitals in their neighborhoods to fuel the fight against COVID-19. Off Their Plate has raised more than $2.2 million to date and is working with a growing list of Chicago restaurants, including Siena Tavern, Seoul Taco, Left Coast Food + Juice, and The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group. The organization recently made its first delivery of 175 meals from The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group to Lawndale Christian Health Center and will be expanding throughout Chicago in the coming days, serving nearly 1,000 meals across seven health facilities in its first five days of operation.
Since starting in Boston in mid-March, Off Their Plate has delivered thousands of “hero meals” to frontline healthcare workers in cities across the country, including New York, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The organization is run entirely by volunteers and is powered by private donations and grants.
“Our work at Off Their Plate is about the human impact of the pandemic,” said founder Natalie Guo. “We exist to support those on the dual frontlines of this unprecedented crisis – our fearless healthcare workers healing the sick, and our tireless restaurant workers fueling the fight.”
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than one in ten Illinoisians work in jobs connected to the state’s restaurant industry. Off Their Plate was created to support this segment of the state’s workforce during a period of disruption by paying them to prepare healthy meals for healthcare heroes who are working around the clock and may lack access to nutritious, convenient food options.
“The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group is proud to partner with Off Their Plate to support Chicago's fight against COVID-19. We are grateful to be able to give back to our city while supporting our employees during this incredibly challenging time that is full of so much uncertainty,” said The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group co-founders Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner. “The restaurant business is about hospitality and being a fixture in the community. Our work with Off Their Plate is helping the Fifty/50 Group to be there for our fellow Chicagoans when they need it most.”
“At Seoul Taco, our team believes in the important role that food plays in bringing a sense of comfort to people in the most challenging of times,” says Chef/Owner David Choi. “We are proud to be partnering with ‘Off Their Plate’ to provide delicious meals to the brave men and women fighting for our health and safety. Through this partnership, we will also be able to provide additional opportunities for our restaurant employees, who will be working to fulfill orders and deliver food to essential personnel.”
“In this critical time, it’s up to us—as neighbors—to take care of our restaurant workers and those on the frontlines,” said Adam Smith, Chicago City Lead. “Off Their Plate takes care of both.”
“Federally Qualified Health Centers and community hospitals play an integral part in caring for the health of our Chicago communities,” noted Phil Hsu, Healthcare Lead in Chicago. “Our team is privileged to support healthcare workers and looks forward to partnering closely with more hospitals in the coming weeks.”
Restaurants interested in partnering with Off Their Plate can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfxIkSwAsnXgiW8i5ItzCTd44FQcade_Unkm90Xacj7D2AlAQ/viewform.
Individuals and organizations interested in supporting Off Their Plate with a financial contribution can do so here: https://donate.wck.org/campaign/off-their-plate/c278869.