Last Call: In praise of the nonprofits working to save the food industry

Kitchen staff at Trinity Cafe in Tampa, Florida prepare meatloaf, potatoes and steamed vegetables to be distributed by Feeding America, March 2019
Kitchen staff at Trinity Cafe in Tampa, Florida prepare meatloaf, potatoes and steamed vegetables to be distributed by Feeding America, March 2019
Photo: Zack Wittman/The Washington Post (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

There’s precious little good news to find in our current global predicament, but everywhere you look, you see people making efforts to assist one another in harsh economic times. Often, this assistance is in the form of GoFundMe campaigns for bar or restaurant staffs, and you should definitely look up these “virtual tip jars” for all your local spots if you’d like to chip in what you can. But beyond relief for individual businesses, there are many charities and nonprofit organizations large and small that are taking innovative approaches to helping those in need.

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The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund will be awarding micro-grants to small businesses such as independent bars and restaurants. The fund emphasizes a swift, direct approach and takes a combination of individual and corporate donations to funnel them where they’re needed most.

Similarly, the Dining Bonds initiative, started by hospitality executives Helen Patrikis and Steven Hall, works to put immediate funding into the hands of the restaurants so that they might serve bond holders in the future. “A Dining Bond works like a savings bond,” their website explains, “where you can purchase a ‘bond’ at a value rate to be redeemed for face value at a future date.” A map shows all the Dining Bond eligible businesses in your area.

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And we here at The Takeout have a shirt for purchase that nudges you toward proper hygiene while also raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts. Thirty percent of the profit from each shirt sold will go to Feeding America, which supports federal nutrition programs, provides school lunches to kids currently sheltering in place at home, and provides emergency grants to local food banks.

What are some other organizations, local or national, that you want to shout-out for their great work at a moment when so little is going great? Let us know who you’re supporting, either with volunteer work, your fundraiser dollars, or, just as valuably, with your cheerleading. Every little bit counts. Send us into the weekend with a laundry list of inspiration.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Forgotten Harvest in metro Detroit. They pick up surplus food items which are still good from stores and restaurants and get it to emergency food suppliers (“soup kitchens” and the like.)

I’ve donated to them semi-regularly.  I’ve also volunteered for them in the past and can verify they are incredibly rigorous about inspecting the food they get.