A Maine group formed this year is helping keep a lot of different people from going hungry this Thanksgiving.
Cooking for Community, which connects donations with restaurant kitchens to help feed people in need did not take a day off.
Instead, Ian Malin, one of the people who spearheaded the project, was able to calculate a way to give 150 meals to Portland-based Amistad, to distribute to the city’s homeless using income generated from around 70 or so two-person meal kits customers of his restaurant, Little Giant had bought for pickup on Thanksgiving Day.
“Amistad said they would need 150 meals, so we just simply produced meals like we would any other week, out of the ingredients we thought were appropriate, which this week obviously are items for a Thanksgiving meal,” said Malin.
For Little Giant customers, the meals for Amistad through Cooking for Community were an extra incentive to purchase food, on top of breaking tradition during a year many people were apart from their relatives.
”With two of us, it didn’t seem like a good idea to make a whole big meal,” said Dave Winzler, who lives in Portland, and was spending Thanksgiving with his wife instead of gathering with their children.
“They’re doing a good thing for the community and we love their food,” said Winzler as he left Little Giant.
For the restaurant, the income from Cooking for Community, has been a beneficial part of a plan to diversify its income, which includes take-out meal, outdoor dining, meal kits shipped nationally over the internet and other efforts.
Formally, Cooking for Community routes money from businesses, non-profits and individual donations through restaurants like Little Giant to help employ staff and ultimately provide meals for the homeless.
The program has now expanded to restaurants in the Lewiston-Auburn area and Maine’s midcoast.
“Cooking for Community has brought restaurants like Little Giant and our other partners stability and that’s one thing that this year has not been able to give us,” said Malin.