It’s been a trying year for the restaurant industry. The coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurants to shutter dining rooms, pivot to takeout and develop new business models.
Despite these challenges, the culinary community has found ways to nourish their communities in collaboration with No Kid Hungry. Here are just a few ways chefs and culinary professionals stepped into action this year.
They Fed Kids and Families
At the beginning of the pandemic, chefs leapt into action, finding new ways to keep feeding their communities, despite widespread shutdowns. Chefs like Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, Calif.; Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto and The Power of Ten Initiative in Washington, D.C.; and John Rivers in Orlando, Fla. set up feeding operations in partnership with local school districts and health agencies, collectively providing thousands of meals to kids in need.
They Urged Elected Officials to Support Programs that Feed Kids
While we weren’t able to visit Capitol Hill in person, that didn’t stop a dozen culinary professionals from making their voices heard in Washington, D.C. this year. Chefs Tyler Anderson, Zach Bell, Amanda Cohen, Samantha Fore, Ben Jacobsen, Troy MacLarty, Rebecca Masson, Ouita Michel, King Phojanakong, Alex Raij, Kevin Scharpf and Cesar Zapata joined No Kid Hungry representatives and anti-hunger activists in meetings with elected officials, calling for an increase to SNAP and pandemic-EBT ‒ as well as bringing a real-life perspective to the challenges facing the restaurant industry.
They Supported the Community Meals Fund Act
In the spring, Share Our Strength (the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign) co-sponsored the Community Meals Fund Act, legislation introduced by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), which would fund public-private partnerships between restaurants and nonprofit organizations to feed kids and other at-risk populations. More than 400 culinary professionals, representing all 50 states, signed on to support this proposal. Read the full letter here.
They Celebrated Hunger Heroes in their Communities
As part of Dine, Shop & Share for No Kid Hungry, Chefs Hugh Acheson and Claudette Zepeda helped to celebrate two hunger heroes working on the frontlines to help feed kids during this crisis: Jaylon Kelly, a No Kid Hungry youth ambassador and Maribel Garcia, superintendent of the El Monte, Calif., school district.
They Shared their SNAP Stories
SNAP is one of the most effective ways to combat childhood hunger and make a difference in kids’ lives, especially in times of crisis. In June, award-winning chefs Ann Kim and Cesar Zapata joined our efforts to advocate for an increase in SNAP benefits by sharing how SNAP helped their families through hard times.
They Brought Star Power to Our Corporate Partnerships
No Kid Hungry engages corporate partners in creative campaigns. This fall, chefs Paola Velez, Hawa Hassan and Brooke Williamson shared recipes with Madewell, calling on their fans to support No Kid Hungry along the way. Grayson Schmitz teamed up with our partners at Citi for a virtual cooking class and conversation with golf pro Danielle Kang.
They Built Awareness and Engaged the Press
Chefs JJ Johnson and Kwame Onwuachi participated in online events with the media, conveying the urgency of the growing struggles families are facing. And on Giving Tuesday, Chef Duff Goldman appeared on MSNBC alongside Share Our Strength founder and executive chair Billy Shore to underscore the importance of ensuring all kids have access to healthy food.
… and to the Small Screen!
Chefs Tanya Holland and Daniel Holzman helped Selena Gomez navigate quarantine cooking on her new Selena + Chef series, resulting in a donation to support our work.
They Raised Funds in New Ways
Our signature culinary events were on pause this year, but that didn’t stop chefs and culinary professionals from finding new virtual pathways to raise funds to fuel our work. The Chefs Cycle community staged virtual rides; dozens of chefs like Douglass Williams, Traci des Jardins and Virginia Willis hosted virtual cooking classes and demos with culinary partners; Samin Nosrat selected No Kid Hungry to benefit from merchandise sales of her new podcast Home Cooking; Chef Joanne Chang and blogger Gemma Stafford co-hosted a live-streamed Bakeathon ‒ collectively raising tens of thousands of dollars to support No Kid Hungry’s efforts to end childhood hunger.
… and Joined us for Holiday Giving
More than 50 chefs, restaurants and culinary brands are giving back during this holiday season via our first-ever Taste of the Holidays campaign, highlighting unique culinary gifts and experiences.
Since No Kid Hungry’s inception, chefs and restaurants have proven their dedication to our mission of ending childhood hunger ‒ and 2020 was no different. Despite the significant challenges posed by the pandemic, our culinary community continued to prove their commitment to ensure all kids have the healthy food they need.