World Central Kitchen and L.A. restaurants are banding together to feed hospital workers

Garrett Snyder
Kaiser hospital staff receive a food delivery from Feed the Frontlines  (Shannon Pruitt / Feeding the Frontlines)

World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit global relief organization founded by chef José Andrés, has partnered with a nascent program in Los Angeles that hopes to supply medical workers with healthy, free meals from local restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis.

The program, called “Feed the Frontline,” coalesced last week when a group of Westside moms organized a large-scale dinner delivery from Marmalade Cafe to 75 nurses and doctors at a local Kaiser hospital.

This week the community effort expanded and formalized itself through its partnership with World Central Kitchen. The initial goal is to feed 450 hospital workers in intensive care and emergency room units in six Los Angeles hospitals.

Over the coming days and weeks, the group plans to ramp up fundraising to expand meal distribution to other hospitals. Through a recently launched GoFundMe campaign, the initial fundraising goal for Los Angeles is $3 million, but “realistically we may need to raise several times that before this is over,” organizer Jeff Berman wrote in an email.

For each donation of $25, the group will partner with L.A. restaurants (including Local, Thyme Cafe, Pacifique, Bacari, Playa Provision, M Cafe and Brooke Williamson’s Playa Provisions; Williamson is one of the organizers of the effort) to deliver lunch and dinner to hospital workers, a goal that will “keep medical workers fed and help the restaurants stay open and get their people paid,” Berman wrote. World Central Kitchen plans to scale the program nationally; all contributions will be routed through the nonprofit so they are tax deductible.

For L.A. restaurants looking to participate, Berman asks those that are able to supply nutritious pre-packaged meals for 60 to 125 workers to contact feedthefrontlineLA@gmail.com.