La Tienda in Wiliamsburg is participating in a worldwide effort to provide affordable meals to people in local communities.
The organization World Central Kitchen has started the campaign #ChefsForAmerica as a food relief program due to the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“So Jose and I have been friends for over 20 yrs and La Tienda has been supporting World Central Kitchen financially for years,” said Tim Harris, CEO of La Tienda. “With this crisis in our community, we have the opportunity to participate.”
The restaurant will serve a soup, salad and two entrees, one vegetarian and one not, and is setting up tents outside for people to receive food in take out containers.
The menu will change, Harris said.
Harris plans to enforce safety measures such as packaging food in “hygienic take away packaging,” accepting “non-touch payments” like Apple Pay in lieu of cash, although the restaurant will accept cards, too and if there is a line, having customers maintain social distancing.
Harris likes Jose Andrés’ “Pay What They Can Model” so people can contribute whatever they can and “if they can’t pay nothing, then it’s free.”
He commends Chef Greg Mincher, who operates the restaurant as the driving force for making this happen.
When asked why La Tienda didn’t participate earlier, Harris said part of the decision was timing.
“What we thought was in the initial period there was plenty of food, but as of yesterday, the 1st of April, that’s really the first pay period people won’t be getting a paycheck,” he said, adding it might be awhile for government checks to arrive.
Harris said a lot of restaurants were providing meals and excess inventory to staff members and said it was time to look beyond their employees and into the community.
The community kitchen at La Tienda, 1325 Jamestown Road, is open Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Depending on the need, the kitchen’s times and days could expand. For more information, email email@example.com.
So far, World Central Kitchen has been in the front lines of the pandemic across the globe, from California to Japan, to provide food relief for those in need.
Through the #ChefsForAmerica campaign, the organization has four goals.
The first is to deliver fresh, packaged meals to communities in need that can be be taken home by families or delivered to the elderly.
Second, the campaign wants to put restaurants back to work. The organization is currently piloting an initiative that will provide food relief while still employing as many people as possible. This will be done through cooperation with restaurants and tech companies to provide meals that will also create a recurring stream of revenue for restaurants, according to the organization’s website.
Third, the organization is trying to feed health care workers that are on the front lines of the pandemic. World Central Kitchen is participating with local initiatives across the country to deliver meals to hospitals and clinics working with coronavirus patients.
The organization’s final goal is to map feeding efforts during this process. This means finding and understanding where food gaps exist by mapping out all of the school districts, restaurants offering meals and the organizations working in partnership.
This isn’t the first time World Central Kitchen has stepped up to fight a food crisis.
In the past, the organization’s long-term work with helping provide food during disasters started after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Following that event, the organization’s founder, Jose Andres, started various programs that help provide clean and nutritious food to communities.
For more information, visit World Central Kitchen online.
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