When Hurricane Harvey showed up in Houston, the city’s restaurant industry staff immediately sprung into action, and they’re serving a seriously stunning amount of food to flood victims and relief workers.
Stationed in kitchens at Search Homeless Services, Reef in Midtown, and their own restaurants, Houston chefs and cooks are preparing tens of thousands of meals each day for delivery to the shelters scattered across the city and its surrounding areas. Servers and other industry professionals have also joined the efforts, showing up early in the morning to wrap sandwiches, assemble breakfast tacos, and ferry pans of food to hungry evacuees. Industry professionals, including Cat Nguyen, Tony Closson, Will Walsh, and Alvin Schultz have been working around the clock in these kitchens, waking up at 4 a.m. to buy ingredients and prep.
Originally using a Facebook group to organize their efforts, there’s now a website called I Have Food I Need Food that both chefs and shelters can use to coordinate distribution. Restaurants that have items to offer can fill out the “I have food” form on the site with detailed information about their donations, and shelters in need fill out the “I need food form” to request items based on their specific needs and in the correct quantities.
Now that the situation in Houston is stabilizing, chefs are taking their efforts outside of the city to areas along the Gulf Coast that are still struggling. On Friday, Chef Lyle Bento is headed to Beaumont and Port Arthur to make food deliveries to people in areas that are still flooded. Bento is collecting donations today at both Southern Goods and Reef to fill a trailer with toiletries, nonperishable food, baby formula and diapers, and first aid supplies.
Check out this Facebook post from Houston Food Finder’s Phaedra Cook for more details on what is needed for this drop:
In the coming weeks, life will start to look a little more normal in Houston, but there are still many more meals to be served. Fortunately, the city’s restaurants, and organizations like the Houston Food Bank, have got it covered.