Launched a month ago as an emergency response to the health and economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, Delivering with Dignity has grown exponentially to help the most vulnerable and isolated people in southern Nevada. Through partnerships with local restaurants, leading nonprofits, and private companies, the program has delivered more than 18,000 meals straight to residents’ doorsteps, employed dozens of restaurant workers, and expanded to support community facilities such as domestic violence and homeless shelters.
“Our community faces challenges like never before, but as in the past, we come together to help one another,” said Julie Murray, co-founder of Delivering with Dignity, chair of the Moonridge Foundation. “Too many in Las Vegas are facing a food crisis because of the risk of contracting COVID-19, unable to leave their homes and access to food delivery services. At the same time, restaurants are struggling to keep their businesses alive and to keep people busy. The meals we deliver are lovingly prepared by professional culinary staff whose food has now taken on a whole new meaning … building hope in a time of fear and making connections in a time of isolation. “
Thanks to private financial donations, numerous partnerships with nonprofits, a group of Food Hero volunteers, and several independent restaurants, Delivering with Dignity delivers an average of 4,500 meals per week. Each delivery can feed the recipients for three days.
With Dignity’s initial and primary focus, meal delivery will be delivered direct to individuals in their homes. However, given the great need for food during this unprecedented crisis, the program has expanded to include efforts by large companies like Zappos, which have provided an additional 17,000 meals directly to nonprofits serving larger populations such as Share / Veteran’s Village, Rescue Mission, The Shade Tree and Salvation Army.
At the same time as feeding the needy, Delivering with Dignity supports the economically devastated restaurant industry by generating additional income through the food program. “Without this program, it would be nearly impossible to keep our 25 employees on the payroll,” said Elizabeth Blau, owner and partner of Honey Salt and Buddy V’s at the Venetian. “The nice thing about this program is that it is not about emergency meals or cold sandwiches, but rather balanced, nutritious meals that are prepared with a big heart by our culinary team and our partner restaurants.”
Delivering with Dignity has worked with more than 20 non-profit partners to date to identify individual recipients in need of the program based on “triple threat” criteria: 1) highest risk for COVID-19 as per CDC guidelines; 2) Not authorized or not served by a community organization to supply their homes with food; 3) Financially unable to meet their food needs without leaving home and unable to have a reliable support system for friends or family members.
Meals were delivered by hundreds of Food Hero volunteers who adhere to strict health and social distancing guidelines and follow routes developed by breakthrough logistics technology for food delivery.
Delivering with Dignity plans to continue deliveries and expand its capabilities to serve those in need in southern Nevada while the pandemic crisis persists. The program directors ask the community members to support the efforts with financial contributions and to become Food Hero volunteers. More information is available at: www.DeliveringwithDignityLV.org.
Delivering with Dignity was co-founded by Punam Mathur, Executive Director of the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation. Julie Murray, Chair of the Moonridge Foundation; and renowned restaurant professional Elizabeth Blau working with Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and United Way of Southern Nevada. It’s a unique program leveraging advanced logistics technology from Copia, a San Francisco-based technology and logistics company whose infrastructure is distributing edible surplus food to shelters and pantries in 270 cities to help reduce hunger and food waste in northern America. Currently, Delivering with Dignity offers meals from several restaurant partners including Honey Salt, Graffiti Bao, Valencian Gold, The Jolt Coffee Co. and Zappos for Good.