Want to set up a #FeedER project in your city?
THE TEAM. Put your team together. You need people with skills in:
Fundraising and financial management
Use of Slack, Asana, Google Drive, and/or other team communication platforms.
THE RESTAURANTS. Find 10 or 12 restaurants that want to work with you. Don’t put out an open call, the response will be too much to handle. Choose local restaurants whose food is delicious, nutritious and will feel like something special to the frontline medical workers. This is as much about supporting frontline morale and bringing them joy as it is about feeding them. Try to provide full meals that include a salad or side, as well as a dessert. 20% of the meals should be vegetarian. And tip the restaurant generously! They’re working hard to make this happen.
Make sure the restaurants know how to prepare foods that comply with Covid-19 food safety standards. From the CDC:
To prevent spread of COVID-19, CDC is recommending individuals employ social distancing or maintaining approximately 6 feet from others, when possible. In food production/ processing facilities and retail food establishments, an evaluation should be made to identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation.
Food facilities should be vigilant in their hygiene practices, including frequent and proper hand-washing and routine cleaning of all surfaces. Because the intensity of the COVID-19 outbreak may differ according to geographic location, coordination with state and local officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside.
THE HOSPITALS. Make contact directly with the administration at the hospital(s) you want to support. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Showing up with food unannounced (which we did at the beginning) creates more chaos in an already very stressful situation. You have to connect with the appropriate contact and determine the hospital’s needs. Ask how many meals they need to feed their ER and ICU staff, and what time they would like it delivered.
THE MONEY. Set up a dedicated bank account in the names of two trusted people. You can work with GoFundMe until you connect with a fiscal sponsor. Connect the GFM to the bank account. Make sure you get a debit card from the bank. You will be buying meals directly from your dedicated bank account with a debit card. (Don’t, God forbid, use Venmo as we did in the beginning. That way lies madness).
Articulate who you are and what your mission is on your GoFundPage. Pictures are a great idea. When soliciting funds, remember that no amount is too small. Our mission is to encourage the entire community to contribute and feel united in the cause. If you insist on a certain minimum donation you exclude too many members of your community.
Once you’re up and running and feeding hospitals on a small scale, you can choose to find a nonprofit fiscal sponsor so contributions can be tax-deductible. (They are NOT tax-deductible via GoFundMe, unless you’re already a nonprofit or working under the fiscal sponsorship of a nonprofit to begin with).
PICK-UP & DELIVERY. You need a team to handle deliveries. EastBayFeedER has 15 people who are acting as deliverers or “Runners” and we are recruiting more. This is our pick up and delivery protocol:
A parking lot or curbside pick up is ideal. If the Runner goes into the restaurant, they must immediately wash their hands.
The Runner opens the trunk of their vehicle so that the restaurant staff doesn’t have contact with the car.
Restaurant staff puts the food in the trunk. Runner should NOT touch the food containers.
Runner closes the trunk (again to keep restaurant staff from touching the car).
Runner alerts the contact at the hospital of their arrival time.
Runner arrives at the drop off location as specified by the hospital, steps out of the car, opens the trunk and steps away to give at least 6ft space for the hospital staff to take the food out of the trunk.
Hospital contact comes (ideally in masks and gowns) to take the food out of the trunk.
Runner takes a photo of the exchange, to keep donors connected and to help publicize the project for more fundraising and awareness.
It’s great if you have a professional looking placard for the delivery cars with your logo on it, so that there’s no confusion about who you are.
THE MARKETING. Go big. Go wide. All social media platforms, news outlets, bloggers, you know the drill. Stay in touch with your donors and keep them updated. Consider a weekly newsletter with updates on how many meals were served, which restaurants participated, and which hospitals were treated. Link to the restaurants, the hospitals and the individual volunteers on your social media. Show your community that you are a community endeavor.
World Central Kitchen is working on this idea on a national scale. Connect with them for more support: www.wkc.org.
Frontline Food in San Francisco, also working with World Central Kitchen, has their own protocols list and How-To: https://medium.com/@frankba/the-covid-clinician-meal-support-program-719b28416c98