Just last week I was at an amazing event for FoodChain, called FEAST. Ouita Michel and VisitLex brought an amazing event to Lexington just 4 years ago and it’s helped put food on the table for many in need here in Lexington through the amazing work of FoodChain. Rebecca Self, Executive Director put out this email in light of the Covid19 situation and the need in our local community. Please do what you can and help your neighbors and let’s stand behind FoodChain.
Given the current crisis that is Covid-19, it seems rather incoherent to think that exactly a week ago today we were gathering for the joyful occasion that is FEAST. To everyone who was able to come and take part, from the chefs and support staff, to the attendees– we are sincerely thankful for your support. FoodChain’s mission is so dear to each of our hearts and it means so much that you showed up to support our cause. FEAST is truly a special time for comoradorie and conviviality.
While we are so incredibly grateful for the turnout and success of that evening, the current pandemic we are facing is weighing heavy on our hearts and minds. As a small nonprofit organization that works specifically in connecting people to local food, we know we are being called to serve in whatever capacity that is the most beneficial and safe for the community. We are looking for solutions to help those who are more susceptible and marginalized, and want to also share what we are all able to do as individuals to support ourselves, our loved ones, and this great community in these turbulent times.
What is FoodChain doing?
While things are changing daily, as of this morning, this is what we feel most equipped to take on:
- Compiling backpacks for our high risk elementary school neighbors (and their families): These bags will include mostly nonperishable, shelf stable foods and hopefully some additional groceries and home goods. We’re currently working with the Family Resource Centers’s at both Harrison and Arlington Elementary who already have relationships with those students and who can help distribute the bags we assemble. All in all, we’re looking at about 250 kids per week who will be receiving these.
- Preparing and distributing hot to-go meals for the families and seniors around us: We are fortunate to have a large kitchen and the skilled staff to take both purchased ingredients as well as many generous donations for local restaurants who are shutting their doors to turn into scratch-made hot meals. We intend to distribute these via existing food pantries while they remain open, as well as our immediate neighbors in the safest way possible, particularly because we fear that perishable food will become less available. Our plan is to assemble tents outside our facility and ensure that residents aren’t queuing up but rather coming one at a time and then taking it home. These meals will allow us to get warm food to our community members but also take advantage of the surplus of fresh product that FoodChain has on hand while still available.
Also heavy on our minds is the upcoming Spring Break, where FCPS meals are set to stop. We’re still trying to figure out what services might exist in that space, but we are anxious to be part of the fabric to support each other during this time.
What they need from you?
To run both of these programs above we need funds. We don’t have a total, nor do we know for how long we’ll be called to fill this void. But we know it’s going to take all of pitching in where we can. If you’d like to contribute to these emergency efforts to feed some of the most vulnerable residents in the community, you can donate here.
While at this time we aren’t looking for volunteer help, we might be able to use food or other donationed items in the future. If you’re interested in that, please email us so we can help coordinate.
What you can do additionally…
As social distancing and isolation are salient behaviors to help combat the spread of coronavirus, it is also a time to check in with your neighbors and take care of one another. Tasks as simple as leaving post-its on doors with your contact information to purchasing gift cards at local businesses to support them while we are encouraged to stay home- these acts all may seem small but there is power in collective action; when we all look out for one another, well, we can get through anything. This document is curating a network of people in Lexington that can support neighbors through mutual aid, whether it be sharing pet food or offering babysitting services, if you are able, please spare a few minutes to fill out the form.
We at FoodChain also
hope you’ll continue to nourish your own body and spirit, in whatever way
serves you best. For sustenance, there’s been HUGE upheaval for so many of our
friends in the local restaurant industry. Through ingenuity and strength, many
of them have pivoted their entire operations to accommodate only take out and
delivery, including our dear neighbors at Smithtown Seafood. Also there’s a lot of
folks offering pay it forward with purchases so that’s a great way to feed both
your family and others! Here’s a list of restaurants still
open, compiled by Ace Weekly, as of today.
Also still open for business are many Kentucky farms, several of whom are currently figuring out ways in which to handle delivery or pick ups. We’ll try to keep our social media feed updated with some resources for both restaurants and farms to help you through this time.
Hopefully by supporting our entire local food sector, we can continue to eat well and care for each other.