OLATHE, Kan. — A grassroots effort to feed health care workers while also taking care of restaurants has made its way to Kansas City.
Eight weeks ago, two women in New Jersey started the Frontline Appreciation Group (FLAG). Liz Ferrigno started a chapter in the metro two weeks ago after hearing how rough it’s been for her neighbors serving on the front line of the coronavirus fight.
“It’s raw, and it’s real what’s happening here,” Ferrigno said. “A lot of these hospitals, they don’t have their cafeterias open. They’re working super long hours and working super hard.”
The effort serves two purposes: provide nourishing meals for doctors and nurses, while also helping struggling restaurants.
“Our first week, the week of [April] 13, I delivered 51 meals. Last week, our second week, 120 meals. This week, we’re up to about 353 meals. It’s growing,” she said about the program.
Ferrigno collects donations from the community, pays restaurants to make the meals, who then deliver them to area hospitals.
On Thursday, she paid Crazy Good Eats and Saints Pub to make around 200 meals for health care workers at Olathe Medical Center.
“It’s very helpful, very needed and I’m very grateful for it,” said Maggie Lemay, owner of Crazy Good Eats.
The order was the largest her restaurant has filled since stay-at-home orders went into effect more than a month ago.
“As soon as the shutdown happened, all catering went away. We’ve had a couple small box lunch things, but nothing big like this,” Lemay explained. “I know [FLAG is] trying to help us, and we’re in turn trying to help them.”
Ferrigno said it’s a win-win approach for all those involved.
“You feel like you are really making a difference here,” she said. “We are all in this together.”
There are now more than 100 chapters of FLAG in at least 27 states.
You can find more information, including how to donate, on FLAG KC’s Facebook page.