As coronavirus exacerbates life’s challenges for many people, a hot bowl of soup could do wonders for the soul.
The Underground Kitchen will start delivering free meals of hot soup, homemade bread and hot tea Monday to quarantined individuals as well as hospital workers, first responders and other workers around the area.
UGK founder Micheal Sparks said his company, which offers lavish pop-up dining experiences, has effectively been shut down like many other restaurants and dining establishments. But he’s taking the time to use his vast chef and producers network to spread some love to the Richmond community.
Rather than focus on their own business, Sparks said, “we need to do something for the community — use your resources ... to make lemonade out of lemons.”
“Soup,” he added, “is a great healing thing.”
Here’s how it works:
For individuals who can’t leave their home for health or logistics reasons, email email@example.com or send a message through social media and include: your name, address and phone number; any dietary restrictions; the number of people in your home.
To minimize contact, deliveries will be left on front doorsteps.
For organizations assisting out-of-town families who are living in residences while their loved ones are patients in local hospitals, email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate the number of residents.
For hospital workers, EMS, local police and fire personnel, UGK is coordinating with local hospitals to have food available during shift changes at designated drive-thru sites, where bags will be placed in those individuals’ trunks. Local police, fire and EMS personnel are encouraged to reach out to UGK to coordinate similar drop-off sites through email at email@example.com.
Additionally, Sparks said anyone who wishes to donate products or services can reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who wish to donate money, a link has been provided to donate in $25 increments. That link is https://theundergroundkitchen.org/event/ugk-soup-program-donation/.
Sparks said the donations will go directly to materials and supplies needed to make and distribute meals to the community.
Others in the area are doing their part to keep their communities fed, at least for as long as they can.
Luther Burger, at 1931 Huguenot Road in Chesterfield County, will hand out free meals of beef cheeseburgers, waffle fries and a sprinkles doughnut to each person Friday and Saturday, no questions asked, in two shifts: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Drive through the parking lot, and staffers will deliver the meals to your car.
Additionally, on Tuesday, March 24, hospital and medical employees can receive free Sugar Shack doughnuts (the sister business to Luther Burger) if they send a message through social media with a quantity needed, and a time between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the doughnuts can be picked up.
India K’ Raja restaurant, at 9051 W. Broad St. in Henrico County, is providing free lunches for students on weekdays through Friday, March 27, between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
“These kids have no option,” said Tony Sappal, who owns the restaurant along with his wife, Alka. He said they’re not sure whether they’ll continue the offer beyond March 27. Local schools are closed through mid-April.
“The situation is evolving,” he said, noting that his restaurant, like others, is in a precarious position. But “God willing, we can continue beyond that.”
In the Fan, Idle Hands Bread Co. is giving away free loaves of bread on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., until further notice. As a safety precaution, the shop will have a “one in, one out” policy, so only one person inside at a time.