coronavirus

Restaurant Finds Way to Keep Doors Open by Feeding At-Risk Youth, Needy Families

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Customers of a Dallas restaurant are feeding needy families and keeping workers employed with just one click of the mouse.

Despite a 70% drop in business, it’s all smiles at Gather Kitchen.

“It’s so easy to give up,” owner Soraya Spencer said. “It’s easy to say, 'I’m going to close.'"

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The downtown Dallas restaurant is hanging on and handing out help.

“If you know me, you know my whole life is about helping,” she said.

Three days ago Spencer launched the "Comfort Food Care Package" project, determined to feed families in need while keeping her workers employed.

“My team is so proud,” she said. “They literally cry because they feel their jobs are safe.”

The restaurant is currently open two days a week because of COVID-19 shelter in place orders.

Here’s how it works: Customers can order the Comfort Food Care Package online for $90.

It will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for needy families and at-risk youth at the after-school program Incarnation House in Dallas.

Spencer is reaching out to large companies to suggest they use money that would normally have gone to catering costs to this effort instead.

Russell Reynolds Associates did just that and helped feed 10 families.

Mexican Fiesta Bake. KXAS/NBC 5 photograph.

Other customers placed 10 orders, so about 100 people would be fed in all.

Gather Kitchen is coordinating with the Family Tree Program to help distribute the meals.

“I’m proud of myself, proud of people,” Spencer said.

Gather Kitchen is also offering an $8 "Feed Our Heroes" option at the bottom of restaurant's website.

Every meal sold will be delivered to a Dallas hospital with the goal of feeding 200 health care workers on a daily basis as a "thank you," Spencer said.

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