While first responders and civilian volunteers helped rescue thousands of Houstonians from dangerous high-water situations, the city’s restaurants quickly mobilized to ensure that every single volunteer and public servant had something to eat.
The efforts began over the weekend, with local chefs and restaurants making surprise deliveries of food to shelters and police stations across the city. On Monday, employees at Frank’s Pizza braved the flooding in Downtown to bring piping-hot pizzas to Houston police officers. On Monday, when the police department’s official Twitter account announced that it was looking to buy meals from local restaurants to feed its employees, dozens of restaurants replied, offering to feed first responders for free.
A number of local restaurants, including Down House and West Alabama Ice House, have served as drop-off centers for donated goods. In order to fully coalesce these efforts, Chef Richard Knight, formerly of Hunky Dory, and Houston Food Finder’s Phaedra Cook took to Facebook to mobilize service industry professionals in order to provide help in an organized fashion. At the same time, Knight was using his vehicle and canoe to assist with water rescues.
The response from local restaurants and industry professionals was immediate, and countless establishments and chefs have pitched in to help. The group already has plans to serve three square meals to first responders tomorrow, along with collecting food for people sheltered at George R. Brown Convention Center and other locations.
Outside of Houston, the city is getting plenty of love from other restaurateurs and industry professionals in Texas and beyond. On Tuesday, Foreign & Domestic’s Ned Elliott will bring a “load of cooked food” in from various Austin restaurants, where more than a dozen eateries have organized fundraisers for disaster relief organizations.
Stranded in Dallas, Houston bartender Chris Morris organized a fundraiser from afar, setting up shop at The Standard Pour, which donated $1 from each drink sold on Monday night and all tips. Before it makes its Houston debut in the coming months, Truth Barbecue will collect donations of food, clothing, toiletries, and other essentials at its location in Brenham on Wednesday, August 30.
In the coming days, Eater will assemble a list of fundraisers, events, and other ways to get involved with Hurricane Harvey relief work. Stay tuned for more details, and be proud of your city.