Chefs, cooks, bakers and makers work in and open restaurants, cafes and bakeries to pursue their calling to feed people. After the North Carolina government ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms on March 17, Ivory Road Café & Kitchen owner and chef Jill Wasilewski found a new way to answer that call.
“My friend Jen Breslin’s sister in Florida has a restaurant and came up with the idea of providing boxed meals for health care workers,” Wasilewski explains. “Jen asked me if I thought Ivory Road could do it. I told her I had all the time in the world, so let’s try.”
Wasilewski made a quick post on Ivory Road’s social media pages describing the idea and the need for donations to support it. “The response was so fast it was almost scary,” she says. “We had to create spreadsheets to track the donations before we could even start making the boxed meals and deliveries.”
She and Breslin initially reached out to the medical community through friends, then received a big assist from Mission Hospital’s manager of volunteer engagement to help with pickup, delivery and distribution to Mission. Meals are also going to Advent and Pardee hospitals as well. “At first, we were just doing COVID units, but now we’re reaching all departments, including housekeeping. We do lunches and night shift staff. Everyone is in this together,” says Wasilewski.
“Everyone” now includes Foggy Mountain Brewpub owners Samantha and Chris Kronberg, who jumped in to help out Ivory Road. “It got so big so fast, it was too much for me; we were doing 60-90 meals a day,” Wasilewski says. “I reached out to my friends at Foggy Mountain for help, and now we do four days, and they do four days, then we switch.”
Though Ivory Road is doing family meal takeout service a couple of days a week, Wasilewski says the hospital endeavor is her priority now. “Having homemade meals brought to them makes them feel appreciated, and that is so important right now,” she says. “As long as donations keep coming in, we’ll keep making the food.”
For information on how to donate to the initiative, visit avl.mx/71u.