From the moment the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the Nashville community, the Predators began to find ways to help. Feed The Front Line Nashville did the same, and now, the two organizations have paired up to continue providing meals to those who deserve it most during these times.
Shortly after the pause to the 2019-20 season, the Preds established the Eat With Us initiative, a way to not only highlight local restaurants and help keep them in business, but to also utilize those partners to feed those on the front lines of the pandemic.
Feed The Front Line, whose mission is to feed the brave healthcare professionals working tirelessly to fight COVID-19 and support local Nashville restaurants and their employees and inspire young people to make an impact and drive community interest, is now doing the same. The organization was started in Texas, but a handful of the original members attended Vanderbilt University and some of the newer volunteers are Nashville natives.
"A lot of the local restaurants that we've been working with are at risk for going out of business," Feed The Front Line Nashville's Maggie McGraw said. "We're trying to keep these restaurants from closing, and we're trying to allow them to keep their employees on payroll. We want to keep them busy during this time, but we also want to keep providing them with a steady income to provide for their families. Keeping these small businesses from going under and feeding the frontline healthcare workers are our main goals. These healthcare workers are already preoccupied with fighting this pandemic, they don't need to worry about where their next meal will come from."
Last Friday, the Preds and FTFL teamed up with local café Frothy Monkey to deliver 150 meals to doctors, nurses and staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a perfect example of how FTFL's operation functions.
McGraw, a Nashville native, says she has personally suggested struggling restaurants to become a FTFL partner as a way to acquire new business. FTFL raises funds from the community, as well as through other local organizations, and that money is then used to purchase meals from those restaurants and provide them to healthcare workers in Nashville.
"Just to be able to work with these restaurants and with the hospital workers, you can see the gratitude," McGraw said. "They're very thankful for what we're doing. Sometimes, some of these small businesses don't have another way to get the money, and so it's really humbling to see what the community can do when they put their resources and time toward something that's really meaningful."
Restaurants, hospitals and other corporations can sign up on Feed The Front Lines' website to become a partner and the public can also make donations to help with the mission.
Progress is being made in Nashville and throughout the state of Tennessee in the battle against COVID-19, but there is still more work to do, and now is the time to continue making a difference.
"This is an unprecedented time where everyone in the community is struggling, so we appreciate donations of any amount. We need the Nashville community's help to provide for our local frontline heroes working tirelessly to make sure we all stay safe."