The holiday season is stressful enough even without the (annoyingly unwelcome) addition of COVID-19. After nearly a year of slowdowns, restrictions, closures and social distancing, families are facing Christmas and New Years with tremendous food insecurity…many for the first time. Olympia’s Morgan Hill Law is rallying local restaurants and civic groups to help put more than 1,000 meals on the table throughout our region.
Feeding America estimates that food insecurity, especially in light of the coronavirus outbreak, could rise to as high as 36.8% in some areas of the country. To combat this and keep communities strong, groups are banding together with a common—and tasty—goal.
Rob Hill, a founding member and attorney at Morgan Hill, explains that their firm “is launching a holiday meals program for food insecure people in the area and partnering with five independent restaurants—three in Olympia, one in Chehalis and one in Shelton—to provide about 1,200 meals delivered to doorsteps over 15 days in Olympia and 5 days in Shelton and Chehalis. The object, besides providing some dignified assistance to local folks hard hit by the pandemic, is to also boost these local small businesses in the hardest hit industry by contracting with them to provide the meals.”
Current co-sponsors include Cabin Light Studios and NorthAmericaTalk, but others are always welcomed to join the fun. Meals “can also be sponsored by anyone who would like to make donations to add to the days or number of meals delivered or even add restaurants to the program,” encourages Hill. “Folks can even just copy the program and do it themselves with their own favorite restaurants and bars.”
These Doorstep Dinners aid locally owned restaurants who are themselves impacted by the slowing economy. “These awesome companies help create the heartbeat of our communities,” says Hill. “They are awesome businesses owned by awesome and creative people who care about the communities they serve and, even in their time of struggle, are stepping up to help others. They face enormous hardship over the next couple of months, but every one of them is determined to come through this stronger and more committed to community than ever before! We need them, and that means we need to boost them to get them through this coming dark winter!”
So far, participating restaurants for the week of December 14 to 18 are Nicole’s Bar in Olympia, Shelton’s Smoking Mo’s, and Joy’s Once Upon A Thyme in Chehalis. Other restaurants signed up to help in following weeks are Eastside Big Tom and New Traditions Fair Trade. Hill and his partners are looking for churches and charitable organizations to identify needy families and also need meal delivery drivers from within the community. To nominate a household, volunteer or make a financial donation simply email email@example.com or call Rob Hill at 360-280-5209.
Organizers under the Small Businesses Care umbrella are “not really an organization, more of a movement,” says Hill. “We feel like we are among the fortunate in that, even though we are nervous about the economic impact and have felt it this year for sure, we have stayed afloat and not had to lay off any employees.”
They especially wanted to help the hardest hit industry: restaurants and bars. “In the process of talking to owners and hearing the dreams and visions for their places and seeing all their determination and their enduring commitment to the community, we love them even more,” admits Hill. “They are the character and the personality of our cities and towns. We cannot afford to lose them, and we hope other businesses that have been fortunate, will join us in adopting these restaurants to boost them through the winter while also helping our struggling people in our communities who find themselves food insecure, many of them for the first time in their lives.”
The holidays are all about giving. If you’re unable to sponsor a meal financially, consider signing up as a delivery driver. Or rally friends, family and your favorite places to eat in a similar type of endeavor. The greatest joys of the season come from time spent together and family feasts. This year is unlike any other but thanks to groups like Small Businesses Care and organizer Rob Hill, there can still a Doorstep Delivery for anyone in need. Follow the adventure on Cabin Light Studio’s Facebook page.