The restaurant industry has been significantly impacted by social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but locally, some of the businesses have joined an effort to feed those in need while their own receipts decline.
La Soupe, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that creates wholesome meals from unused food, created the Community Kitchen in response to the pandemic and the related food insecurity in our area.
Founder Suzy DeYoung has recruited 18 different restaurants across the region and pays them to help keep food production coming.
In the effort, each restaurant figures out how many meals it can produce and then they are provided with rescued proteins from La Soupe. They then create meals and the Community Kitchen distributes them.
The Community Kitchen program has produced nearly 800,000 servings since the pandemic began.
The program offers steady income for the businesses and food for those who need it.
The effort was funded in part by money from the local allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
At this point, the Community Kitchen is funded only through this year, but it hopes to receive more money to continue through April, per a request to the city of Cincinnati's federal community block development grant program, and there is additional CARES Act money expected to be made available. But, in order to continue, more money is needed, DeYoung said.
Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk about the Community Kitchen along with Suzy DeYoung are José Salazar, owner of Mita's and Salazar and Goose & Elder restaurants, and Crystal Render of Magnificent Morsels Catering.
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