NYC Restaurant Owner Hit Hard By Covid Hires Staff Back To Feed Hospital Workers + Families In Need

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Playing NYC Chef Starts Meal-Matching Program Feeding Frontline Workers & Community Members During Covid
NYC Chef Starts Meal-Matching Program Feeding Frontline Workers & Community Members During Covid Aired September 16, 2020

JJ Johnson—chef and owner of FIELDTRIP, a rice bowl restaurant in New York City's Harlem—says his business suffered when Covid-19 hit, and he couldn't afford to keep on all of his staff. 

When JJ's wife, a nurse in Manhattan, mentioned she was so busy she didn't eat all day, JJ sent FIELDTRIP rice bowls to her hospital. "In the back of my mind I was saying, well if she's getting killed at her hospital in downtown Manhattan, what about our hospitals here in our local community? So we packed up 40 dinners and I dropped them off at the ER room. 

Then I took it to Twitter and said, 'This is one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life. I just donated 40 bowls to Harlem Hospital.' And somebody came in on Twitter and was like, 'I'll match that.'"

Others started matching that match, and soon enough, JJ got a phone call from someone who wanted to purchase $2,500 worth of bowls. 

"I was able to call my staff to come in the next day to start to cook again," JJ says. That's how FIELDTRIP's match-a-bowl program started. "People from all around the country were calling or donating bowls, so we teamed up with Harlem Grown, Madison Boys and Girls Club, NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] to feed families and children in need," JJ says. 

"At this time we've done over 55,000 meals—we should hit the 100,000 mark of meals very soon."

We love what JJ is doing so much that we surprised him with $5,000 from our friends at Lundberg Family Farms to help him keep feeding those in need!

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