Fight2Feed: Chicago chefs use donated items, rescued food at McCormick Place's East Kitchen to cook up thousands of meals for families in need

"We're rescuing a little over a 100,000 pounds of food a week now and preparing 10,000 meals a week."

Video Transcript

EVELYN HOLMES: Once again the push is on to feed those who are hungry. Today the menu includes a black bean burger with cheddar cheese, accompanied by a zucchini and roasted tomato salad and chips.

JEFFERY BENZON: I pretty much like look at what we get for donation, everything all the ingredients that we receive, and make meals out of them.

EVELYN HOLMES: It's called Serving Tuesday. It's where not for profit Fight to Feed has local chefs come together to cook meals for people in need.

JIWON MCCARTNEY: It's really about us doing our job as humans to take care of other humans, and for us it's just kind of like, why not?

EVELYN HOLMES: With the help of their community partners they've gone from feeding roughly 1,500 people a month before the pandemic to that many and more in a week.

PHIL SIDDU: There's certainly a market for people who are going to need that food, and not necessarily have access to it.

EVELYN HOLMES: McCartney, who was also the creator of the National Cooking Competition Culinary Fight Club, says her group uses donated items and rescue food to create the meals. So far over 100,000 pounds of food a week.

MARC WUENSCHEL: We're rescuing a little over 100,000 pounds of food a week now and we're expecting about 10,000 meals a week now. So that's a lot of food.

EVELYN HOLMES: The group had been using kitchens of various restaurants around the city, but now during the pandemic has a temporary home at the unused East Kitchen at McCormick Place.

DOUG BRADLEY: When shows do come back and will help us facilitate also getting more food back out to the community when we have leftover food on our big shows.

EVELYN HOLMES: The group has expanded to also supplying food pantries and shelters after their first effort was to help out struggling restaurant workers.

CRYSTAL LINING: We don't say no to anybody. Anyone who needs food, yes is the answer.

EVELYN HOLMES: The group says they hope to be able to continue to meet the need and hope as well that this effort will become an example for other communities as they try to fight hunger. Reporting from McCormick Place, Evelyn Holmes, ABC 7, Eyewitness News.