A group of area restaurant and business leaders have come together in recent weeks to fund prepared meals from local independent restaurants and provide them to front-line workers in support of their ongoing work in battling COVID-19.
Brazos Feed It Forward emerged out of two similar efforts — one from an organization of independent restaurants called BCS Local Flavor and one led by business owner Hugh Stearns — to support area restaurants. The group also seeks to provide food — and expressions of gratitude — for workers such as nurses, doctors and grocery store employees.
“The thing about this organization specifically is that it’s helping a lot of different people,” said Kristy Petty, owner of The Village in Downtown Bryan, who is one of Feed It Forward’s leaders. “It’s helping the people who are sheltering-in-place at home to feel like they can donate and help out. It’s helping the restaurants that are standing on the front lines and keeping them alive … and it’s helping health care workers.”
A wide range of local restaurants are participating, from Fargo’s Pit BBQ and Harvey Washbangers to Blue Baker, 3rd on Main and Dixie Chicken. Hundreds of meals have been distributed, with more on the way.
Wade Beckman, owner of Shipwreck Grill and another Feed It Forward leader, described the effort as a “win-win-win.”
“It’s helping local businesses and the staff of those businesses, it’s helping the local economy, and it’s helping somebody,” Beckman said.
Stearns said Feed It Forward provides a means for the B-CS community as a whole to support a variety of local workers and entities.
“Front-line people are being served by front-line people — because the restaurants are front-line people,” Stearns said.
“The people who are receiving the meals, everyone I’ve spoken to, are just overwhelmed with gratitude about the fact that people are willing to give money and donate food,” Petty said. “What it’s done for their morale is more than what it’s done for their stomach. We are about feeding people in body and in spirit, and that’s really a huge part of it.”
Beckman said that Brazos Feed it Forward is partnering with The Bubba Moore Foundation, a long-standing nonprofit community partner, to ensure donor confidence with transparency and fiscal accountability. They also have partnerships with Baylor Scott & White and CHI St. Joseph Health, as well as other local food providers and government agencies.
In mid-March, BCS Local Flavor started organizing restaurants to participate in providing food for front-line workers. Unaware of these efforts, Stearns, founder of Stearns Design Build, began fundraising using a model developed in Denver. The two projects quickly merged.
“We realize that this need is going to evolve and be long-term, so we hope that we are establishing Brazos Feed It Forward in a way that we can serve the community for a long time to come,” Stearns said.
Petty said that the cities of Bryan and College Station are contributing, and individual and private group donations are welcome.
To learn more or to donate, visit www.bcslocalflavor.com.