NewsLocal NewsWe See You


We See You: New initiative brings chefs together to give back

Posted at 9:06 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 10:06:52-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A new initiative is bringing chefs, food industry partners and community growers back to work while serving those in need.

It's called Chef Collective KC, and it's launching the Community Meals Project.

The project helps local food workers stay employed while also combating food insecurity in the community.

According to Chef Collective KC, the model gets food from local and regional growers and food distributors.

Those items are then sent to its distribution partner, Kanbe’s Market.

The food is then sent to participating kitchens. Those who are participating then prepare meals and they're sent to distribution locations in the greater metro area.

Donors fund the initiative, which allows the program to work.

The Culinary Center of Kansas City is one of the kitchens participating.

"We work with a lot of chefs around town and so a lot of those people have been directly hit with their restaurants going on hiatus," Chief Creative Experience Officer, Heather Minor said. "They got families at home they were not able to provide for but we like to make lemonade out of lemons so we're doing our bet to keep people working and keep people fed.

Main Dish's Laura Laiben said they made 400 meals for Operation Breakthrough just last week.

"It's really hard for us to see or hear that someone doesn't have enough in their house," Laiben said. "It's what we do so it really does work well now for us. It keeps us standing as a kitchen, it provides some dollars in our kitchen and also it's close to our heart."

This week, the center is adding the Lykins Neighborhood Association to their list. The Northeast neighborhood will receive meals for roughly six families, but expects that need to grow 15 to 20 families next week.

Gail Lozaff with the Lykins Neighborhood Association said it's a win-win for everyone.

"I just think it's amazing," she said. "I mean it's amazing for both restaurants and for the people who are in need in the food. It's just everything coming together for mutual benefit too, so I think it's a great thing that they're doing."

Through Chef Collective KC, last week alone, more than 7,000 meals were made for those in need.

Moving forward, they're going to keep the initiative going, working with growers to be able to continue to serve.

For more information on Chef Collective KC or how to donate, click here.

During the pandemic, 41 Action News wants to spotlight people, organizations and companies helping the community. To share these stories, use #WeSeeYouKSHB on social media.