ANNAPOLIS, MD — Restaurant owner Monica Alvarado loves cooking and feeding people. The Rev. Ryan Sirmons loves helping his community and leading his flock. Together, the two have become an indomitable force for good in the face of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Alvarado and Sirmons, along with much support from others, have started Feed Anne Arundel, an initiative of (ACT) that supports families in need while giving an infusion into Anne Arundel County's economy. Alvarado owns Bread and Butter Kitchen in Eastport and Sirmons helps lead the interfaith social activism group ACT.

"Ryan Sirmons reached out to me last week with an idea — pay restaurants to prepare meals for community members in need. The idea was genius and we immediately began collaborating on how to bring this idea to fruition," Alvarado told Patch.

2020欧洲杯赛事ACT consists of 26 congregations and nonprofit organizations with a goal of developing leaders and building community power through relationships, Sirmons told Patch. Thanks to several leaders, the idea to feed the hungry using local restaurants was brought to life to the benefit of the community.

"FeedAnneArundel wouldn't happen if we didn't have good relationships with top leaders. This idea isn't even mine — it came about in conversations with a colleague, the Rev. Heather Shortlidge, and one of ACT's community leaders, Toni Strong Pratt. And those ideas came from Jose Andres, who used restaurants to feed the entire island of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. But without good, preexisting local relationships, such as the ones Monica has with restaurants, and the ones ACT has on the ground in communities and with leaders in the county, such as the Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families, good ideas don't come to fruition. These are unusual times, and that calls for unusual solutions," said Sirmons.


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Families who already were food insecure are struggling in unsettling times and restaurants have had to cut hours, lay off employees and some have shut down completely. So Feed Anne Arundel's mission is to pay restaurants to whip up meals for those in need. The organization has created a for those who want to support the project in that way, too.

"We have definitely experienced a very positive and encouraging response to our request for donations. We've had nonprofits, like Valhalla Sailing Project, donate, as well as individual citizens. Donations ranging from $10-$1,000 have rolled in, but we need more. Our goal is to provide 1,200 meals each day - so please help," Alvarado said.

More than a dozen restaurants are participating in the initiative so far. Restaurants can sign up to participate by emailing feedannearundel@gmail.com.

2020欧洲杯赛事"We need more. We'd like to have restaurants in every corner of the county participating so that we can pair restaurants to food distribution locations in their area and also have enough food to go around," said Alvarado.

2020欧洲杯赛事Feed Anne Arundel works with Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth and Families and mobile food pantries to provide prepared meals, as well as groceries.

"We work with them (restaurants) to determine how many meals they can provide on a daily or weekly basis," said Alvarado. "We pair restaurants with food distribution locations and ask them to prepare a specific number of meals for pick up by a specific time. Meals must be individually wrapped in microwave-safe or oven-ready containers with labels that include the ingredients, allergens and heating instructions."

2020欧洲杯赛事Sirmons said Feed Anne Arundel started a trial run Saturday with 300 prepared meals. Moving forward, the initiative will funnel meals to food kitchens and follow a schedule provided by agencies. The goal is to eventually feed more than 600 people and support local restaurants at the same time.

2020欧洲杯赛事"Meals are picked up from the restaurant and delivered to the specified location. Volunteers at each location hand out the prepared meals with the groceries provided," said Alvarado . "Restaurants submit invoices and will be paid weekly for the meals they have prepared."

The project also has given volunteers something to do to help others during the pandemic.

"We want to feed people, keep people employed and support our businesses. These things matter to all of us, and this is a great way to do all three," said Alvarado.

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By Beth Dalbey, Patch Staff