Partnership feeds Wake County families, keeps Raleigh restaurants afloat
Posted October 6, 2020 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2020 9:27 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Wake County Restaurant Partnership is helping to feed local families affected by the coronavirus while keeping restaurants afloat during the pandemic.
The partnership is funded through the federal CARES Act and coordinated by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
Together, restaurant partners assemble between 500 to 1,000 casserole meals a day. The meals typically include a variety of vegetables, healthy proteins and fillers like rice, pasta or quinoa. Once packed in aluminum containers with heating instructions, the meals are blast chilled and later distributed to families at sites throughout Wake County.
St. Roch's Fine Oysters and Bar in downtown Raleigh is not open for lunch, but since April, employees have had steady work during the morning hours. Nearby, Locals Seafood at Transfer Food Hall is just as busy making nutritious family casseroles to go.
"Things are extremely tough for a lot of folks these days, in particular, the restaurant industry," St. Roch’s chef-owner Sunny Gerhardt said.
Kara Quido, restaurant partnership coordinator, said that the program is expected to last until the end of the year, but it could possibly run until the end of 2021.
"It helps us keep our doors open and helps us pay a little bit of our bills," Gerhardt said. "It helps us employ some other folks and more importantly, it helps us feed the community."
Sarah Grace Smith, a store front manager with Locals Seafood, said that her restaurant has been able to retain most of their kitchen staff through the pandemic.
Smith said her staff are happy to help families in need.
"Having that opportunity has really helped us reignite our company culture and our own core values," Smith said.