As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the restaurant industry, a number of organizations have stepped up to help.
Seeing a need, Santa Clarita Valley resident Ben Brown created Feed the Fight, an organization that collects monetary donations from community members in order to purchase meals and groceries from local restaurants.
That food is then donated to Santa Clarita Grocery, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping food insecurity in the SCV and is now providing fresh food and meals for underprivileged families.
Though put together quickly, Feed the Fight wasn’t in Brown’s original business model.
In early March, after nearly two years in the works, Brown, who has a background in the food industry, was excited to launch his new self-guided food tours company, TastePro, when all the restaurants began to close.
“I could not have gotten worse timing,” he said. “I never anticipated a global pandemic hitting the hospitality industry worse than any incident ever has in the past couple hundred years, so what Feed the Fight essentially is, is me redirecting my company’s resources to help in any way possible.”
In an effort to support everyone who needed it, Brown came up with the idea for Feed the Fight.
“On one end, being a restaurant person, I saw and continue to see a number of restaurants that are struggling for business,” he added. “On the other end, I saw those facing economic hardship, struggling to put food on the table and in need of fresh meals … and a group, like Santa Clarita Grocery, that is completely overwhelmed with demands.”
Brown said he hopes this will be a temporary solution to bridge that gap, creating a “win-win” opportunity for everyone involved in the program.
“The important thing is that I get to support other people in this community,” he said, adding that 100% of every contribution goes toward these meals. “I’m not a charity, I never planned to be a charity, but this is what I hope will be at least a program that will help these restaurants and these people in need during this time when I can give back.”
Some of the larger orders placed have given restaurants the opportunity to pay their staff or, in some cases, rehire workers, Brown added.
“Just seeing the look in a restaurant owner’s face and the joy that they have,” he said. “That’s a pretty special thing.”
Feed the Fight allows donors to contribute by visiting the website, with options to choose both the amount and the individual restaurant they would like to support, which “allows members of the community to feel like they’re able to play a part, too,” Brown said.
While many of the options are some of TastePro’s current partners, any restaurant in the SCV that is interested can join the program, Brown added.
“I would encourage them to contact me in order to have themselves added because if they exist in this community, there is clearly support from this community for them,” he said. “And, I’m just all about supporting Santa Clarita’s restaurant scene and doing everything I can to keep the restaurants in this town as healthy as possible.”