We’re All in This Together: Supporting Your Community & Catalyst Kitchens Member Relief Efforts  

March 19, 2020

Our realities have changed seemingly overnight. The escalating response to the coronavirus outbreak has left many feeling isolated and uncertain about the future. While we practice social distancing, it is easy to lose sight of how this outbreak is affecting our community outside of our homes.  

Catalyst Kitchens members are on the front lines of relief efforts for those directly affected by this crisis, including low-income and food insecure populations. Here are some ways you can support those most affected by the outbreak.  


Support Local Hunger Relief 

As more and more businesses close their doors, we can expect to see significant increases in community hunger across the nation. Here are some ways you can show your support.  

  • Donate: send money or food to a Catalyst Kitchens member site (details below) or your local food bank – the increased demand has these organizations strapped for resources as people are out of work and students out of school. Feeding America has established a national fund for hunger relief here. 

  • Take what you need and nothing more: The panic of the crisis has led many to stock their cupboards, leaving grocery store shelves empty. Low income families are struggling to find food to feed their families today. Be thoughtful of your community as we all get through this together and make small trips throughout the crisis.   

  • Be aware of food items labeled WIC – these items are part of a government program serving low-income women and children (6.87 million nationally in 2018). There are specific items allocated for this program and families relying on product availability.– learn more about this here.   

What our members are doing:  

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is collecting thousands of pounds of food for families to pick up in drive thru fashion. Check out their Facebook video showing the volunteers in action.

Grand Street Settlement is providing daily meals pick up to Seniors over 60 years old who are self-quarantined living in New York City.  

The Food Education Fund has built a resource for those in New York City to find food hubs distributing emergency meals and food supplies.  

The Maryland Food Bank is preparing back up boxes full of shelf stable items and seeking funding as they service their nearly 350 community-based food assistance organizations and respond to heightened hunger relief needs throughout Maryland.  

Show Your Support

FareStart's COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund is designed to meet emergency food needs. Your donation will provide meals now, ensure ongoing care for vulnerable populations, and support future FareStart programs and services, including its national initiative Catalyst Kitchens. 

donate now

The C-19 Impact Initiative with Nicholas Kristof 

We are honored to be among a wonderful group of organizations selected by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof as part of the C-19 Impact Initiative, a new fundraising effort to support organizations working around the clock to fight COVID-19 and save lives.

Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to provide millions of meals to those who would otherwise go hungry, and we are grateful to be recognized for our work to support communities experiencing acute hardship due to the economic effects of COVID-19.

read the article and learn more about the initiative

Patronize Your Local Businesses  

Small businesses, particularly in foodservice, are getting hit hard from the coronavirus outbreak and losing revenue daily due to closures or take-out only operations. Patronize your favorite local eatery or store to keep them running through these challenging weeks.  

There is a site dedicated to supporting local businesses called Help Main Street, a crowdfunding platform to keep shops and restaurants afloat through gift card purchases.  

The James Beard Foundation has outlined how the restaurant industry is responding and how you can show support.  


Be Aware of The Community Impact

Social distancing can be an isolating feeling and take our minds away from those communities being hit hardest by this crisis. Awareness of how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting our community is the first step towards providing support where it’s needed most.  

Learn more about the impact on low wage earnersthose living with chronic illness and disability, and healthcare workers.  


Donate blood 

  • Blood banks are experiencing extremely low levels of donations due to social distancing measures nationally. There may be concerns about safety for blood donations at the time, however as they create a sterile environment it is a safe space and a needed service! Thousands need blood donations daily. Check out the Red Cross or your local blood bank to make an appointment.  


Resources for our Members and Nonprofits:  

No Kid Hungry is providing grants to school meals providers and school districts focused on feeding children who are out of school. Many CK members provide meals to schools and childcare centers and are experiencing higher demand with school closures.  Find more details and apply here.  

REDF has created a guide for Employment Social Enterprises including tools for working with vulnerable populations during a pandemic, communications, and how to manage a business during this slowdown.  

Twitter has released a communications guide in times of crisis to plan your messaging and keep your audiences informed.  

How to communicate about this crisis with an inclusion and empowerment lens.  

Working remotely with a team? Five ways to build team morale and relationships despite physical distance. Here are some tips on how to work from home and make it work for you.  


This blog will be updated as new resources and news updates become available. Please reach out if you’d like to add content to our Communications Coordinator at corinne.molz@farestart.org

Blog Category: 

Community Engagement

Corinne Molz

Corinne brings experience to her role of Communications Coordinator from her background in event planning, international development undergraduate degree, and her passion for the foodservice job training social enterprise model. Her career goals are devoted to lifting others out of the cycle of poverty through economic empowerment through employment/workforce development. She previously served FareStart as a Catering Captain, Catalyst Kitchens as Program Associate, and currently manages all More