MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — By Thursday at noon, five vans full of food had already visited Chowgirls Killer Catering in northeast Minneapolis.
The catering company has teamed up with Second Harvest Heartland, Loaves & Fishes, The Bachelor Farmer and Restaurant Alma to form "Minnesota's Central Kitchen."
"We are working in a strategic partnership with Second Harvest Heartland and Loaves & Fishes to create a pilot kitchen that can be replicated in the community with standardized operating procedures for COVID-19 health and food safety so that we can take food that's being donated by all the closed bars and restaurants right now and help those Loaves & Fishes clients," said Maari Cedar James, president of Chowgirls Killer Catering.
According to Cedar James, Loaves & Fishes is currently using their transportation to pick food up from restaurants that are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Right now, they expect to make 200-500 to-go meals per day before ramping up to 2,000.
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"The hope is that potentially we could serve 10,000 meals a day with this program once we get up and running but we want to do it right," Cedar James said. "Especially during the social distancing where we don't want people eating in meal halls together. So as much packaging and preparing the foods for take-home through Loaves & Fishes is happening, as possible, too."
These emergency meals will help feed people in the community, including those in the food service industry.
"We have had to go through layoffs already ourselves and we're working with those staff that were laid off to actually bring them back in to do this work as much as possible," Cedar James said. "And to be able to help the families that are immediately affected, especially low-wage workers who don't have sick safe time who may be laid off."
There are several ways you can help.
Restaurants interested in donating food can go to https://mealconnect.org/. They are in need of dried spices.
Minnesota's Central Kitchen is also in need of volunteers, including skilled chefs. To volunteer, email email@example.com.
To donate non-food items, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• dish chemicals
• cleaning supplies
• thermometers for humans
• duct tape
• hotel pans
• foil pans
• compostable boxes
• paper towel
• toilet paper
• 24" plastic wrap
More information for those in need of help, can be found on the Loaves and Fishes website.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
More information on the coronavirus:
- Facts not fear: What the Midwest should know about coronavirus
- Current number of presumptive coronavirus cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Coronavirus-related cancellations, postponements and impacts in the Twin Cities
- Here are the common symptoms of coronavirus
- What are the 'underlying conditions' that make coronavirus more serious?