Nourish Lexington, an initiative to utilize hospitality workers recently unemployed due to the COVID-19 closings as well as other community food assets to provide prepared meals to those who need immediate access to food, has been created by several Central Kentucky community organizations, including Keeneland.
FoodChain, with support from the E.E. Murry Family Foundation, Keeneland and VisitLEX, formed Nourish Lexington as a model collaboration to use the skills and talents of local chefs, businesses, farms, funders and nonprofit agencies in order to feed our hungry community members. Other generous donors who have stepped forward to support the cause include The Lavin Family Foundation and the Jenna and Matthew Mitchell Family Foundation.
In exchange for preparing and delivering meals, food service workers will receive a $60 payment for a four-hour shift. Meals will be distributed to hospitality industry families, other families in need, seniors in affordable housing apartment complexes, and children and their families through family resource coordinators.
“The mission of the E.E. Murry Family Foundation is to eliminate poverty. We believe that starts with stopping poverty before it begins. With that goal in mind, we partnered with FoodChain, Keeneland, VisitLEX and the Blue Grass Community Foundation to create income opportunities for individuals displaced by COVID-19 in the service industry and serve meals to those in need,” said Wes Murry of the E. E. Murry Family Foundation.
To help provide relief, Keeneland donated 1,500 pounds of food to the Nourish Lexington program and will contribute 100% of the proceeds from online sales from The Keeneland Shop and Keeneland Mercantile during the month of April to the effort.
“Keeneland is part of the rich fabric of this community. After the difficult decision to cancel our race meet, we refocused our energies to help those in our industry and Central Kentucky community who are most vulnerable,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “This community supports Keeneland year-round, and this is a time when we all must come together to support one another.”
Nourish Lexington will be piloted at FoodChain's kitchen facility at the corner of Jefferson and West 6th Street in downtown Lexington.
“On a day-to-day basis, FoodChain's mission is to forge connections between community and fresh food, so we are keenly aware of the limitations of food access and the alarming number of families and individuals who are food insecure in our town. Under the current crisis, with the need for meals rising at exponential rates, we had to leverage as many of our resources, partnerships and infrastructure as possible to address the problem,” said FoodChain Executive Director Becca Self. “That our kitchen and networks could be an asset to bring Lexington's skilled food sector together to produce ready-to-eat meals safely, while also coordinating their delivery to places that could be accessible to those most in need, has been a blessing in these otherwise turbulent times.”
Nourish Lexington is fueled by the generous donations from community partners and members of the public. To learn more about this effort and help feed members of the Lexington community who need it most, visit www.nourishlexington.org or https://bgcf.givingfuel.com/nourishfund.