Alex Abrams is a soon-to-be business school student with a background in sports technology. Dana Ritterbusch is about to return to school to pursue a career in neuroscience. This unlikely pair leads Local Meals for Local Heroes, a nonprofit that has been delivering meals from local restaurants to Nashville’s COVID-19 healthcare workers since mid-March.
I talked with founder Alex recently to learn more about this important organization that’s helping nourish our Nashville health heroes. Read on!
How did Local Meals for Local Heroes get started?
We started the work back when things started to hit the fan with COVID around the end of March. It was starting to become more of a reality for the city when the shut down order was put in place. I thought to myself: I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so how can I contribute during this time? Our healthcare professionals are dealing with a pandemic that has never been encountered before. How can we help them continue to do what they do to keep us safe and healthy? Also, how can we support the restaurants that have been affected by the crisis?
What impact has Local Meals for Local Heroes had so far?
Our goal has been to try to say thank you to our healthcare workers while also doing good for the community and saying thank you to Nashville. We want Nashville to look the same coming out of the pandemic as it did going in.
Local Meals for Local Heroes solicits donations from around Nashville and around the country to go purchase meals from local restaurants that we know and love. Then, we take them to healthcare workers. To date (July 2020), we have raised over $50,000 to provide over 5,000 meals to 12 local hospitals and EMS units from over 70 restaurants.
What was so great immediately, was that the healthcare professionals were so grateful. But, what was unexpected was that the restaurants were so thankful, too. We provide about three days worth of sales to them in one night. Especially in the first weeks of this work when restaurants were closed, we were helping the restaurants make it to another week and make payroll.
How did the partnership with Batch develop?
A friend who has helped with our fundraising suggested looking at Batch, so we reached out to Sam (Batch CEO and co-founder) to see if we could develop a themed box. We put together two Batch boxes that are live on the website now. Around $8 per Batch box sold will go toward Local Meals for Local Heroes, which donates the equivalent of one meal to a healthcare provider.
What’s next for Local Meals for Local Heroes?
Unfortunately for Nashville, we’re seeing cases start to tick up again. The city is getting impacted. There was an initial surge of wanting to help, but now everyone has COVID fatigue. We are all tired of being in our homes and living in this weird scenario. Local Meals for Local Heroes wants to continue to be there for as long as it takes. People can support our work by spreading the word about Local Meals for Local Heroes, by buying one of the special Batch boxes, and by donating directly if they are able.
To ensure that we’re able to help for the long haul, we have developed a partnership with the Music City Concierge Association (MCCA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is a joint venture between the Hospitality Association of Nashville and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation. They are the backbone of the city’s hospitality industry. People on the board have been part of this city’s hospitality industry for 25-30 years. In the fall, because of our school commitments, Dana and I will move into an advisory role, and MCCA will step in to do day-to-day operations.
We want to continue to support the city. We’re not out of woods yet.
Read more about the partnership and check out the Batch boxes that benefit Local Meals for Local Heroes. You can learn more about Local Meals for Local Heroes on their website and find them on Facebook and Instagram.