The Temecula Valley Hospital recently received 100 donated meals, thanks to a partnership with Red Lobster Temecula and the Seafood for Heroes program, which helps to bring sustainable meals to front-line workers.
Seafood for Heroes, a Northern California-born program, first came out of the Napa Seafood Foundation. Leaders of large seafood companies decided to form the foundation where they would get together yearly to decide upon a way that they all could contribute, whether it be building schools, doing educational programs, etc.
In other words, they wanted to find a way each year that they could make an impact in the world for the better.
“When we were evaluating what we were going to do this year, we were going down the road of microplastics and water, and removable plastics in water, and COVID hit,” Mark Cotter, chief executive of The Food Group, said.
The Food Group helps to market and promote Seafood for Heroes.
“We decided we could do something right now, we don’t have to wait,” Cotter said.
A few decided that they should try to do something with providing healthy seafood meals to front-line workers.
“Initially we thought we could get seafood donated to go to restaurants and they create the meals and things like that from seafood companies,” Cotter said. “Well, it’s not that easy to get fresh food anywhere anymore.
“Canned food products, great, you can do that but outside of fresh sealed produce it’s very hard to do that,” he said.
They came up with the idea of keeping the seafood in the supply chain, and then hiring restaurants to then provide meals around the country that needed them. They partnered with Red Lobster as one of their main restaurants.
Seafood for Heroes has kept the meals going since February, with the help of other seafood companies raising additional funds, according to Cotter.
“We’ve got volunteer support around the country that orchestrate it,” Cotter said. “Then we find hospitals and front-line workers in need, and then we organize meals for them.”
One of the issues that they came across that made them want to do better was that a lot of front-line workers liked that they were getting food but were tired of pizza or fast food.
“We offered a much higher quality product, so they could get full dinners and things like that,” Cotter said.
Red Lobster in Temecula donated 100 meals to the fron-line workers at the Temecula Valley Hospital.
“The meals featured grilled chicken, shrimp linguine and popcorn shrimp each served with rice, broccoli and, of course, our signature Cheddar Bay Biscuits,” Samantha Bruno, communications manager of Red Lobster Seafood Co., said in an email statement.
“Napa Seafood Foundation is leveraging its network across the seafood industry to fund the program and help us say thank you to the hard-working health care workers around the country,” Bruno continued in the statement, “The Seafood for Heroes Program provides the funds for the food, and we’re doing the cooking and delivery in our local communities, like Temecula… to say thank you.”
When it comes to Red Lobster, the regional management team determines which front-line workers in their area are most in need, according to Cotter.
They also record and keep data for the locations and meals they give out.
As of Thursday, June 25, Seafood for Heroes has given out 16,000 meals in 108 cities in over 23 states, according to Cotter. They continue to add new cities and new donations every week.
“The staff was grateful to our team for the delivery,” Bruno said regarding Red Lobster’s meals. “Our team loved getting the opportunity to make a difference in the local community.”
For more information on Seafood for Heroes and to help feed front-line workers, visit https://www.seafoodforheroes.com.
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.