Former Restaurant Owner Pivots To Feeding Kids In Poorest Bronx Communities Amid Covid

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We couldn't love our "Thanks For Giving" series more, because it gives us the opportunity to introduce you to truly amazing people, like Chef Millie Peartree, founder of "Full Heart Full Bellies."

Chef Millie, who previously owned a popular Bronx restaurant called MP Fish Fry & Soul Food, pivoted to feeding thousands of essential workers in a matter of months during the pandemic with her successful catering company. When she saw how much she could help, the idea of using her time and talent to feed children in need came to her — and "Full Heart Full Bellies" was born.

"'Full Heart Full Bellies' is an initiative that I created to provide meals for underprivileged children in the Bronx," Chef Millie says. "What led to me creating the initiative was Covid. It was very important to me to make sure that children had food because a lot of programs are canceled and/or limited due to Covid."

"We chose the South Bronx because the South Bronx is the poorest community in all of the five boroughs," she continues. "People appreciate it and you can hear on the ground firsthand, 'Thank you so much, you have been a blessing to my community and you have been a blessing to my household.' That's what we're trying to do here. That's what we're trying to accomplish."

Millie specifically creates restaurant-inspired meals — like turkey meatloaf with roasted potatoes, jerk chicken sandwiches with sweet potato wedges + more — so she can bring the restaurant experience to people who can't afford to go to restaurants. Since the South Bronx is predominantly Hispanic, she also makes popular Latin comfort dishes like Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas) and Chicken

arroz con gandules
Rachael Ray Show

"We make sure they have a fully composed meal to give them the sustenance they need throughout the day," Chef Millie says. And she has big dreams for the program!

"In the last three months, we've given out approximately 40,000 meals," Chef Millie says. "I would love to donate at least half a million meals in 2021, possibly a million." 

chef millie peartree
Rachael Ray Show

Because Millie says donations are the backbone of "Full Heart Full Bellies," Rach wanted to surprise her with some well-deserved support. Wonderful Halos (you know, those delicious mandarins) are giving Millie $10,000! If you'd like to donate yourself, visit Millie's "Full Heart Full Bellies" GoFundMe page here.

Chef Millie is part of our "Thanks For Giving" series, highlighting amazing people doing good every day until Thanksgiving. Read more good news stories here.

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