For many people, 2021 feels like a year full of possibilities because of coronavirus vaccines, expanded options for gyms, bowling alley and other indoor entertainment as well as an overall feeling of hope. More importantly, Metro Detroiters are seeing the impact of their good deeds, donations and financial support across industries, especially restaurants.
To that end, the Detroit Free Press and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers are gearing up for another iteration of its successful Top 10 Cares program.
For 2021, the Detroit Free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Top 10 Cares is supporting 10 diverse chefs, dubbed as “Food Fighters”, who have served their communities in extraordinary ways while keeping their own restaurants afloat through the coronavirus pandemic. They are also working with Forgotten Harvest to provide meals to those in need in hard-hit neighborhoods around the city. The goal of this program is to financially assist these chefs who struggled through the pandemic, while feeding those in desperate need of food.
The public is able to help support the Food Fighters’ restaurants and the Forgotten Harvest Food Pantry by donating. Restaurants will receive $20 per meal and will use this money to cover their (food pantry) meal costs. Any remaining dollars will go towards filling the loses they have sustained during the pandemic. The goal is to raise $100,000 or 5,000-plus meals for people in need.
The community needs this kind of support to make sure people have the food they need and right where they need it, officials agreed. The mobile pantry will allow people to drive up and receive a nutritious, locally-sourced meal put directly into their car trunk.
From March 12 through April 5 people can donate at freep.com/rescue. The money will be split evenly between the Top 10 Food Fighters restaurants, and a the “Chef of the Year” restaurant, who will in turn provide composed to-go meals through the Forgotten Harvest Food Pantry. The Forgotten Harvest Food Pantry will take place during the week of April 12.
These Food Fighters include: The Block, Kuzzo’s, SheWolf, Gabriel Hall, Batch Brewing Co., COOP, Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, El Nacimiento, Bangkok 96, Bunny Bunny, Saffron de Twah.
Last year, the Detroit Free Press and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers had multiple campaigns to help restaurants and communities. In April 2020, the two longtime partners created a program to Rescue Detroit Restaurants and Feed Health Care Heroes. This campaign worked with 20 of the Detroit Free Press’s past Top 10 Best New Restaurants to create and deliver meals to Health Care Heroes.
The response was nothing short of amazing, organizers said. In a few weeks, these partnerships raised almost $168,000 and provided over 8,700 locally sourced, nutritious meals to 15 local hospitals. These meals were provided by top Detroit restaurants such as Grey Ghost, Mabel Grey and SheWolf.
In December, restaurants were still hurting because of a second round of pandemic shutdowns. To help, the Detroit Free Press, Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers and Forgotten Harvest once again stepped up to help, this time aiming at Healthcare Heroes as well as those in need. During this round, these partners raised more than $210,000 and provided over 10,000 meals.
In total, for both initiatives, the Detroit Free Press and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers were able to raise almost $377,000 and give back 18,916 meals. Each restaurant had the opportunity to make money to help employ its workers and support themselves as well.