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Community donations feed frontline workers, keep restaurants serving


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A grassroots movement is helping keep local restaurants serving while also giving thanks to those serving on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“I got the call and I’m happy to participate,” said Hardette Harris, chef and owner of Us Up North. “I have some volunteers and some of my kitchen staff. It’s a good way to keep my kitchen staff working through these lean times.”

The restaurant is navigating the challenges of the pandemic while supplying 50 meals to those on the front lines.

“I’m just like everybody else,” said Harris. “I’m struggling. I’m trying to figure this whole thing out, as well, so being able to kind of in the middle of that give back, it kind of balances it out. It helps a lot.”

Us Up North is one of about a dozen restaurants participating in the grassroots movement founded on Facebook: 318Eats.

“We adopted that hashtag, #feedthefrontlineshreveport and #feedthefrontlinebossier, and it really does illustrate that our healthcare workers are the front line in the fight against this virus,” said Kathryn Smitherman, founder.

The project’s mission is two-fold.

“It helps restaurants and small businesses stay open to provide a little bit of revenue for us, as well as support the cause to feed these wonderful medical staff that are putting themselves and their families at risk by being here every day,” said Jessica Comegys.

Comegys is chef and owner of Glow Alchemy Kitchen. Her restaurant also delivered 50 meals to Oschner LSU Health Shreveport Thursday.

“Definitely a win-win for everyone involved,” said Comegys.

So far, the group’s collected more than $30,000 in donations and has delivered 1,300 meals to area hospitals.

“What I’m really proud of is the number of people across all socio-economic lines that have come together in our community to show this amazing support,” said Smitherman.

The group’s goal is to provide a day shift and night shift meal to all ICU and COVID units in Shreveport and Bossier City each week through the end of May.

“The people on the front lines need to know that they have support from the commmunity and from people that are coming up along the same lines that they did,” said nursing student Cecelia Tucker. “So, it feels really good to be able to give back in that way.”

You can learn more about 318Eats on their Facebook page and supply donations through PayPal and Venmo.

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