About the Fund
Working Food Relief - COVID-19 Meal Program
Among many issues, the COVID-19 Crisis and associated loss of economic activity in Alachua County has resulted in new and acute food insecurity. Prior to COVID-19, food insecurity was affecting one in three children and nearly half of all households in North Central Florida.
This number is rapidly increasing with hundreds of service workers now out of work due to COVID-19 closures. The pandemic has also put local restaurants in a tough spot, having to lay off employees, reduce hours, and even shut their doors. School, university, and restaurant closures have drastically reduced the market for locally produced food. Working Food, an established leader in the local food community, is uniquely positioned to address these acute problems with a systems approach that creates a win-win solution for farmers, food entrepreneurs, workers, and food insecure community members. Idle kitchens will prepare meals for families in need featuring local produce as a way to help keep families fed, farmers farming, and food entrepreneurs cooking.
Working Food has received commitments with food entrepreneurs and farmers in pursuit of piloting this idea. Our initial partners include Bert Gill of Mildred's and Blue Gill Restaurant, Chef Carl Watts of Underground Kitchen, Chef Joshua Joseph of Chef JJ Creations, Fisher Farm, Siembra Farm, Frog Song Organics. The UF College of Journalism and Communication (COJ), the UF Bob Graham Center for Public Service students, and Randy Batista Photography will help to develop a brand and overall public relations plan for this project.
The pilot, funded in part by University of Florida and the City of Gainesville and through generous private donations, began the week of Monday, March 30, 2020. Our program will provide freshly prepared, nutritional foods to families and individuals in need for $35 for a family of four. We will be partnering with community service organizations, such as the Partnership for Strong Families, Girls Place, Grace Marketplace, Family Promise, Aces in Motion, the City of Gainesville EMT Community Resource Paramedics Program, and the Greater Duval Neighborhood Association to identify families and distribute meals.