WASHINGTON, DC — After delivering almost 3,000 turkey dinners for Thanksgiving to senior citizens struggling with food insecurity, Medium Rare restaurants co-owner Mark Bucher has been busy serving another 3,000 Christmas dinners this week to seniors. The recipients will be more than pleased, as their Christmas dinner consists of chicken cordon bleu, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans and apple pie.
Some recipients also are receiving 600 personal hygiene kits packed with basic living necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and aspirin, all are in great need by many seniors.
"We are buying them and collecting donations. We have found that it's something that is really needed by this population who has difficulty leaving their homes," Bucher told Patch.
Holiday cards handmade by area students will also be included. The Washington Nationals are also helping Bucher with plans to deliver 250 meals to a Washington, D.C.-run warming station on Christmas Day.
"We didn't realize how big this problem was when we first started. We thought we'd help people out, but the problem kept growing as the pandemic continued. These people can't get to food banks and aren’t educated on or can’t afford to use meal delivery apps. If we didn’t help them who would?" he asked.
The initiative hits close to home, however, as Bucher knows his own father would not have asked for help while isolated during a pandemic.
"Toward the end of my father's life, he was in assisted living and looking back I know he would be reluctant to reach out for help. Too many people are resistant to seek help. How can I not do what I can to provide relief for these people?" Bucher asked.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Medium Rare has delivered more than 20,000 free meals to seniors and others in need. It started with a tweet in early March offering to provide steak dinners to those 70 and older or who were unable to leave their homes. Hundreds of French toast brunches were delivered to mothers and grandmothers isolated from their families during Mother’s Day.
"We continued the initiative because it was a natural continuation of our relief efforts since early March," Bucher said.
Those looking to help Bucher are encouraged to donate at FeedTheFridge.org, a charity foundation established by Bucher to specifically to battle food insecurity in the area.
"With Feed the Fridge, restaurants are getting paid to provide the meals. It provides income for them to keep their doors open. It's a win for people who face food insecurity great restaurant meals at no cost to them," he said.
Deliveries are being made this week through Christmas Eve. Anyone looking to request a meal for themselves or someone in need can contact Bucher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 50 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.