Pilot program provides meals to vulnerable residents, supports local restaurants

Starting today (April 13th), Gainesville area restaurants will provide meals to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents during the coronavirus crisis. The City of Gainesville has partnered with the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce and local restaurants to provide grab-and-go meals seven days a week for community members in need.

Through the FEED GNV pilot, participating restaurants will contract with the city, who will provide financial support to each restaurant and its employees for the grab-and-go meals.

“The benefit of this program is two-fold — providing relief to our neighbors struggling to access nutritious meals while also offering much-needed cash flow to our local businesses and their employees impacted by the shelter-in-place emergency orders,” said Gainesville’s City Manager Lee Feldman.

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GRACE Marketplace will help with delivery service for some meals, assisting the restaurants with this chore and allowing them to focus more on preparing the meals.

“The work we are doing right now will have a huge impact on how we recover as a community when all this is over,” said Jon DeCarmine, executive director at GRACE Marketplace. “We’re thrilled to work with the city on this, because the more we can do to keep people safe, healthy and employed, the better off we’ll all be.”

For the pilot, 75 to 80 lunches and dinners will be distributed. More than a dozen restaurants have signed on to participate to date, with the first week of meals beginning Monday, April 13.

“FEED GNV is a perfect example of the great things that happen when we collaborate. We are so happy to support both our residents in need and our local businesses as we all persevere through these very challenging times,” said Eric Godet, president/CEO of the Greater Gainesville Chamber.

The city will evaluate FEED GNV on a weekly basis, with plans to continue and expand the program until the crisis is over.

“I’m so proud of Gainesville, and how we have pivoted to help our neighbors and our businesses during this crisis,” said Sandra Carlisi, owner of local restaurant East End Eatery. “FEED GNV will be a tremendous help not only by helping us in the restaurant business get food into someone’s mouth rather than into the trash, but also by providing the cash flow that allows us to continue feeding people going forward.”

For more information on FEED GNV, contact Roberta Griffith at 352-359-7751 or griffithre@cityofgainesville.org.

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