Feed the Frontlines, an effort aimed at helping Durango restaurants cope with reduced business during the COVID-19 pandemic while providing meals to front-line workers battling the virus, is back for a second round.
Organized under the umbrella of Local First, Feed the Frontlines aims to take in donations to pay restaurants that will cook daily meals to provide to COVID-19 front-line workers.
“We’ll be providing really wholesome, nutritious meals when people are working these long hours and being put under stress. That’s the COVID reality,” said Chris Bettin, co-owner of Durango Land and Homes and Premier Vacation Rentals Group, which is helping organize and finance the effort. Bettin is also a Durango city councilor.
Besides Bettin’s firms, Feed the Frontlines is supported by Mercy Regional Medical Center, Centura Health, Animas Surgical Hospital and numerous individual donors.
The idea is to pay restaurants $15 per meal, creating two benefits: Restaurants get a new revenue stream when sales are pinched and individual front-line workers have one less daily chore to worry about.
Blaine Bailey, director of In the Weeds, a nonprofit group that supports workers in the restaurant industry and who is organizing operations for the latest round of Feed the Frontlines, said restaurants in La Plata County are still signing up to participate in the program.
Currently, restaurants that will be cooking and preparing meals will be Backcountry Gourmet, Eat Zawadi, Grassburger, Mill Street Bistro, Ore House, 2nd Deli & Spirits, Singletrack Cafe, Soup Palette and Switchback taco bar.
Bettin said organizers would like to raise $60,000 for the current round of Feed the Frontlines, and donations can be made online at the Local First-hosted Feed the Frontlines webpage.
About $45,000 has already been raised for the effort, Bettin said.
The first round of meals is expected to go out Tuesday with Backcountry Gourmet preparing 40 breakfast burritos for firefighters and employees of San Juan Basin Public Health and Grassburger preparing 80 lunches for Animas Surgical Hospital employees.
Restaurants are expected to rotate duties, with the Ore House handling meals for Mercy Regional Medical Center.