The initiative, started by five Sacramento restaurants, delivers free, pre-cooked meals each week to families in need.
To meet the needs of the community, the initiative recruited additional businesses to participate. “We told anyone that would listen that any restaurant could make 400-800 meals a day safely and effectively [if] given some funding,” Chef Patrick Mulvaney, owner of Mulvaney’s Building & Loan tells Food Tank.
Family Meal Sacramento gained traction quickly, says Mulvaney. “Not only are we feeding hungry people and keeping antsy cooks occupied but we are keeping our channels of distribution open.”
More than 40 restaurants now contribute to Family Meal Sacramento. The initiative offers participants centralized procurement, processing, fundraising, and distribution support.
They are also working directly with the Sacramento Unified School District, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment housing complexes, and organizations including Meals on Wheels, which distributes meals to homebound seniors. These partnerships allow Family Meal Sacramento to provide more than 1,300 Sacramentans three meals a day, seven days a week.
California’s Governor Newsom also took note of Family Meal Sacramento, adopting the model as part of a state-wide initiative, Great Plates Delivered. The program, according to Newsom, assists up to 1.2 million homebound older adults. But eligibility is restricted to seniors who do not already receive nutrition assistance and whose incomes are between US$25,000-US$75,000.
Meanwhile, Family Meal Sacramento is working to grow. Mulvaney admits that serving meals safely at the scale required of Family Meals Sacramento is challenging, but, Mulvaney tells Food Tank, “The collaboration of everyone coming together to make stone soup was quite amazing.”
Photo courtesy of Family Meal Sacramento