Adair Roberts, mother of James (Class of 2024) and Duncan (Class of 2023), works in the mental health and addiction sector. In mid-March, after Toronto restaurants and bars were ordered to close, only providing delivery and take-out in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adair wanted to help.
She wanted to help restaurants stay in business and also help to feed those working in healthcare and social services. And from there came the idea of Feed the Frontlines TO.
RSGC: What exactly is Feed the Frontlines TO?
AR: We feed Toronto healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. By purchasing meals through Feed the Frontlines TO, donors help fuel the extraordinary efforts of our city’s healthcare workers and support our local restaurants and their employees with ONE donation (it’s a two-fer!).
RSGC: What is the goal of Feed the Frontlines TO?
AR: The goal of Feed the Frontlines TO is to keep local restaurant employees employed, preparing and distributing delicious and nutritious meals for our healthcare and social services teams across the city. We want to keep Toronto restaurant workers working, and our healthcare and social services teams healthy, well-fed and nourished by the spirit of community.
RSGC: How does Feed the Frontlines TO work?
AR: I connect with Toronto hospitals and social services agencies, and offer deliveries of free, high-quality restaurant meals for their frontline teams. We collect the relevant details and I assign the order to one of our three partner restaurants to prepare. I then pick up the order and deliver it to the hospital or agency – dropping it off outside the organization and from a safe distance, of course! If people are interested in learning more, details are on our website
RSGC: Are you working with specific restaurants?
AR: Our founding restaurant partners are Little Sister, Five Doors North and Tabule, although we will also work with other local restaurants who want to join the effort.
RSGC: What inspired you to do this?
AR: Feed the Frontlines TO was born of an idea I had to help, in some small way, my friends Kate and Luca Di Pietro in New York City (NYC). Luca is the founder of Taralluci e Vino, a small restaurant group in NYC. Within a week of the mandate to close restaurants in that city, Luca had to shut down four of his five locations, and most painfully, lay off 90 of his employees.
I called Kate and Luca with an idea: I would order and pay for 40 dinners from their one remaining location, to be delivered to the staff of a local Emergency Department. Luca jumped on the idea. I contacted a NYC Emergency Department, shared the idea, and by the next night, I received pictures of Luca handing over 40 delicious dinners of lasagna, panini and salad to the hardworking staff of the Emergency Department at NYU Langone, a local NYC hospital.
It was an amazing experience, and we all wondered – were we on to something? After posting about the delivery on social media, Luca received an outpouring of support from loyal customers and friends that has allowed deliveries to continue on a daily basis from his and other local restaurants to several NYC hospitals. I knew then that I had to go beyond making a single donation to help my friends – I had try to make the same thing happen in Toronto, both for the local restaurants we all love, and for the healthcare and social services teams who are working so hard on our behalves, even at risk to themselves. I reached out to Little Sister, Five Doors North, and Tabule, three local restaurants in my neighbourhood, and they all jumped on board enthusiastically.
RSGC: What is your fundraising goal?
AR: Our goal is to raise $50,000. Let’s do this!