Coronavirus News

Program that feeds Dallas restaurant workers moves to bigger digs

Program that feeds Dallas restaurant workers moves to bigger digs

They're moving to a more central location: Irving. Courtesy photo

A nonprofit that arose after coronavirus to feed the food & beverage industry is moving to bigger new digs: Staff Meal, which provides 2,400 free chef-crafted meals every weekend to hospitality workers in need, is moving its program from 3015 at Trinity Groves to the Irving Convention Center, beginning Saturday, May 2.

Irving Convention Center donated the space, providing a larger, state-of-the-art kitchen and workspace for the volunteer culinary team and a more central location for curbside pick-up for F&B workers across North Texas.

"Staff Meal is providing a service that my entire team can support and embrace," says Tom Meehan, the GM at Irving Convention Center, in a release. "We are pleased to be able to give back to the community during this time of need."

Staff Meals was launched on April 11 in response to the growing amount of restaurant and hospitality workers unemployed due to COVID-19. Founders include Cheryl Weis, Alison Matis, and Emily Mantooth of FestEvents Foundation, a 501c3 that supports workforce development in the hospitality industry, collaborating with chef Nick Walker of Virgin Hotels Dallas and Steve DeShazo, of El Centro College.

The program provides 300 free to-go food packages, including four servings of breakfast and four servings of lunch/dinner.

Reservations for the meals are required through, and the food is ready for no-touch pickup on Saturdays from 10 am-1 pm. The new pickup is at Irving Convention Center, at 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd. in Irving.

Associations and businesses who have donated funding, product, and services include 3015 at Trinity Groves, Artscape Creative, Cava Group Inc., Chef’s Produce Company, The Chefs’ Warehouse, Dairy Max, Fresh Point, Friedman Marketing and Public Relations, Gordon Food Service, Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Irving Convention Center, La Madeleine, M&M Concessions, Maple Leaf Farms, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Profound Foods, Tailwater Capital, Texas Beef Council, Verlasso Salmon, Vipin Nambiar, and Wackym’s Kitchen.

DeShazo says in a statement that they needed a bigger kitchen to accommodate demand.

"There are 677,000 unemployed service industry workers across the state of Texas," DeShazo says. "Due to the overwhelming response that we received from North Texans over the last three weeks for the meal distribution, we knew we needed a much larger kitchen. We will see Staff Meal continue to grow and expand outreach, especially now that we are more accessible to sectors that are heavily populated with displaced industry workers but offer fewer free meal plans."