Story by Jasmine Fain. Photos courtesy of Feed the Front Line.
COVID-19 is a world health crisis that has affected our country for more than two months. As social distancing continues, it’s not easy to ignore just how many are suffering under the closers of our economy. However in Dallas, the sounds of trucks being loaded up with food from local restaurants and volunteers ruffling their masks and gloves from carrying bags to healthcare workers, can be heard from Feed The Front Line.
Feed The Front Line is a Texas-based 501(c)3 nonprofit that’s helping local restaurants and hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. The organization launched on March 26 with the mission to raise money to purchase meals from local Dallas and Houston restaurants, which are delivered to the hardworking healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The volunteer team consists of young professionals and local high school students who are eager to help their communities. Jacqueline, the Vice President of Feed The Front Line DFW, is filled with excitement as she speaks about what fuels her to manage this work.
“We recognized how many local, small businesses that have had to shut down due to the quarantine, and we saw that there was a way we could help both the healthcare workers and the small businesses,” says Jacqueline. “We raise money, pay restaurants to prepare individual meals, and then deliver them to hospitals to feed the healthcare workers and give them a morale boost.” By doing this, the Feed the Front Line team has served restaurants such as BBBop , Beto & Son , and Dream Cafe and impacted healthcare workers at Baylor University Medical Center , UT Southwestern , and Harris Methodist.
Jacqueline herself is a former restaurant worker, and understands just how hard of a hit that restaurants are taking right now, but also her current role as a business consultant has led her to be more involved on the operations and fundraising side of the nonprofit. To her, serving them during this crisis came naturally. It was an easy choice to join the fight to improve the health of healthcare workers during the time of COVID-19. “During the day I help coordinate the orders at the hospitals, and determine which restaurants are delivering to which hospital locations, and that job has gotten bigger and bigger every week.”
“This week, we are delivering 2,100 meals across DFW and paying over $20,000 to local restaurants,” Jacqueline says, giving awareness to the growing need within our community, but these numbers aren’t the highlight of the journey to her.
As Feed The Front Line is a nonprofit birthed out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to ignore that business operations for them happened more quickly than usual. The organization is constantly growing with individuals reaching out, but the success has contributed to the diversity of their board, bringing in college students, professionals, and those who are just passionate about supporting the community. However, hearing how they are changing lives is one joy that Jacqueline takes to heart.
“It’s the stories that we hear every single day. They’re so meaningful to me. For example, we’ve had restaurant owners tell us that they’ve been able to keep their employees on payroll for another week just because of Feed The Front Line,” says Jacqueline. “We also had a nurse reach out to us who said she was just having a terrible week. She was sleeping in her car, because she was worried she had been exposed to the virus, and she didn’t want to go home to her parents and potentially expose them. When she walked into the break room, and saw hot tacos from her favorite restaurant, she began to cry.”
Thankfulness is just the beginning of what we feel towards our healthcare workers, and we hope Feed The Front Line continues their work in supporting small businesses and the medical professionals who are keeping our hospitals running.
Jacqueline mentioned that there is a longer term plan for Feed The Front Line, looking at ways to deliver hot meals to other groups in need, but for now Feed The Front Line has a singular mission, centered around the COVID-19 pandemic. Until it ends we will keep serving,” Jacqueline says.
If you would like to get involved with Feed The Front Line they not only have a Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, but are also starting chapters in Nashville, Charlotte, Kentucky, and Chicago. If you are interested in joining the Dallas Chapter, or sending donations, you can go to ftfl.org. They are also actively posting on Instagram, where you can find live updates about which hospitals are on the delivery route, and get to know the volunteers who serve our community everyday.
If this story has inspired you to support the North Texas nonprofit community, visit our Support Nonprofits During COVID-19 page to learn how you can get involved!