KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Harvesters Community Food Network has teamed up with more than 40 local restaurants, bakeries and breweries to bring together love of food and community.
This year's partnership - formerly known as Forks and Corks - keeps the event's new name - Forks on Friday - from the 2020 event, which was updated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It's the same mission this year - when you dig into some takeout from a participating location, you're also helping feed the community.
"Oh man, we really wouldn't be anything without the community here in Kansas City," McLain's Bakery assistant manager Molly O'Boyle said.
Restaurants are an important part of people's lives - oftentimes they are where we share events and make memories over good food.
After the rollercoaster that was 2020, it's no secret the restaurant and beverage industry need help.
“We’re slowly coming back but it’s a great sort of revitalization inviting the people out there to come and visit the restaurants in Kansas City, to support them and at the same time to support Harvesters," Lidia’s Kansas City chef and owner Lidia Bastianich said.
When patrons bring a non-perishable donation to Lidia's - Chef Cody will prepare you a fried Risotto ball.
“We really do it from the heart and with the heart," Bastianich says.
McLain's Bakery is bringing the sugar this year - giving a free cookie to anyone who brings a non-perishable donation for the Harvesters bin.
"We just really want to be able to do everything that we can for the people that we serve and even though our industry has been hit really hard by COVID-19, - that sort of just makes it all the more important," O'Boyle said. "That's really the most rewarding thing that we can do is to be able to go the extra mile for people or as we like to say make life's moments sweeter."
The Farmhouse in River Market also has a food bin. On Saturday and Sunday, 100 percent of their cinnamon roll sales will go to Harvesters.
"We are farm to table, we are tip to tail, no waist," Farmhouse executive chef and co-owner Vincent Paredes said with pride.
Meaning when you buy a meal from them, you're also supporting some of the 40 local farmers and ranchers across the Kansas City region.
Though it's important to note; just because things have reopened does not mean everyone is doing dandy.
"For a year and a half now, we have been expected to pay 100 percent of our bills on 50 percent of occupancy, and so though things are busier, we are crawling out of the hole and we're climbing and we're doing it together - it's still real," Paredes said.
And despite being an industry in need themselves, they're giving so that you will too.
"We have a long way to go but we are in it together, with Harvesters, with the restaurants that are participating and our community - that is supporting both," Paredes said.
To take part in Forks on Friday, order from one of the participating locations, bring a non-perishable item and/or order a specific menu item and a portion of sales will go to benefit Harvesters.
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