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Feel-Good Food News

Businesses big and small are finding ways to ensure that hospitality workers are fed for free, as well as to pay it forward to healthcare workers. Here’s this week’s happy highlight reel featuring ways Houstonians are taking care of their own.

Rice Village has launched the Fare for Care campaign to deliver more than 15,000 meals to healthcare workers in the Texas Medical Center over the next two weeks, beginning today. Participating restaurants include vendors at the still-new Politan Row food hall, Mendocino Farms, Sixty Vines and Sweetgreen. Houstonians can donate by clicking here; 100 percent of these funds will be used to purchase ingredients and pay staff to make and deliver the meals. After all, Rice Management Company reminds us, it takes a “Village.”

The Fertitta family has pledged $1 million to its own employee relief fund, which supports all Fertitta Entertainment and Landry’s restaurant workers and their families. “Our employees are our most important resource,” said Tilman Feritta in a statement. Additionally, first responders who arrive in uniform or show their badge or identification can now receive one free meal each day from 11am-7pm at Willie G’s. Willie G’s is also serving takeout meals to all Landry’s employees and their immediate family members daily.

Houston-based food-distributor giant Sysco announced that it has donated 13.5 million meals across the globe in just four weeks, by partnering with Feeding America and similar organizations in Canada and Europe. The company, which turns 50 this year, has coordinated product donations and direct delivery to food banks, and has facilitated the loan of refrigerated trucks and storage space to increase capacity at a local level. Sysco also pledges to support mobile and drive-through distribution models in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, LASCO Enterprises, the company behind Max’s Wine Dive and Tasting Room, is offering family-size meals for unemployed and furloughed hospitality professionals for curbside pickup at the Tasting Room in Uptown Park, on Tuesday evenings from 4-6pm. The GoFundMe supports this effort; for every $1,000, LASCO says that 250 families of four can be fed.

And Southern Smoke continues to accrue national and international support: Zadok Jewelers and Emerson Rose are among the local businesses that have donated portions of proceeds to Chris Shepherd’s hospitality-worker relief fund, and the New York-based Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation donated $1 million. Southern Smoke, which has hired more than two-dozen furloughed restaurant workers to assist in processing applications, is expected to reach the milestone of distributing $1 million in grants during the COVID-19 crisis within a week’s time.

AT TOP: Underbelly’s Chris Shepherd, Oxheart’s Justin Yu, Coltivare’s Ryan Pera, and Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass and Provisions in 2017. Photo by Julie Soefer for Houston CityBook.