After Covid-19 struck the food industry, restaurant layoffs and shutdowns were commonplace. Peter Newlin, the Chief Executive Officer of Birdcall (a Colorado-based chicken restaurant) knew there was more to do than wait to reopen. With the help of many gracious partners along the way, Newlin and the Birdcall staff catalyzed Colorado’s first reliable, quick-paced meal delivery system for frontline healthcare workers. It’s called Fuel Hope Kitchen.
A Moment of Peace
It took some time to land on a solution, but after seeing countless pictures of frontline workers who lacked enough supplies, Newlin dedicated himself to the cause. “What started this was the realization that we have to support each other— that it doesn’t matter how we come out of this, what matters is that we come out of this together.” With the help of Kenneth Tuchman from the Tuchman Family Foundation, Fuel Hope Kitchen’s plan of action became a reality. “We were brainstorming this idea of, ‘Why don’t we just do what we know how to do?’, which was to start cooking as many meals as possible and get them to our healthcare heroes” in order to provide a moment of peace amongst the chaos, Newlin explains.
Reaching Far and Wide
Fuel Hope Kitchen moved quickly to blueprint how to cook individual meals on a large scale. “In 72 hours, we set up our own distribution channel, created a commissary kitchen, brought in chefs, and started taking orders from all hospitals I could call,” says Newlin. “After two months, we had 50,000 people, and meals accounted for across the Front Range.” Looking forward, those at Fuel Hope Kitchen realize there’s a need for its services beyond Denver. “We’ve started to support hospitals as far away as we can reach, and we’ve started delivering family meals rather than just individual meals so healthcare workers can take them home and eat with their families,” shares Newlin. “Now we just have to think about what’s next.”
With more than half of the meals delivered so far out of the 200,000 goal, Fuel Hope Kitchen still needs help to reach its goal. Check out the website for opportunities to support the cause. They welcome anyone who wishes to lend a helping hand.