As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impinge the restaurant industry and impact food insecurity for society’s most vulnerable, the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District (BID) recently launched the “Grove Stove” meal delivery program designed to support the district’s restaurants while providing nutritious meals to locals facing difficult circumstances.
“Our new program feeds both struggling businesses and our neighbors in need. Restaurants can keep people working, while providing top-quality hot meals to the community,” said Ken Russell, Miami city commissioner and chair of the Coconut Grove BID. “The Coconut Grove BID is fueling the economic recovery of our area eateries adversely affected by the pandemic and supporting individuals hit hardest by the current health crisis at the same time.”
The Coconut Grove BID has dedicated $150,000 to fund this program which will pay area restaurants $15 per meal, up to 50 meals per week. Meals will include a protein, vegetable, and starch, and will be packaged individually.
Thus far, the Grove’s Ariete Hospitality, Bombay Darbar, Harry’s Pizza, Kush by Spillover, LoKal, Saffron at the Grove, Atchana’s Homegrown Thai, The Blonde Bistro, Florida Avenue Hospitality, Meraki Greek Bistro, Juicense, Oasis, and Barracuda Taphouse & Grill have committed to participating in the program.
“The love and inspiration we feel for this city is the lifeblood of Ariete Hospitality Group,” said Michael Beltran, owner and executive chef of Ariete Hospitality Group. “Giving back to our community is paramount to who we are and who we want to be. Anytime the Coconut Grove BID is able to reach out and alert us of a new opportunity to lend a hand, we are one step closer to becoming the company we want to be.”
With nearly 500 meals distributed in the first week, the meals are being delivered to local charity organizations, including the Grove Crisis Network, Grove Outreach, and St. James Baptist Church.
“We are very grateful for the Coconut Grove BID and its restaurant community for providing meals for those in need of food during this pandemic,” said Kenton L. Williams, Senior Pastor at St. James Baptist Church of Coconut Grove. “We are even more appreciative of the fact that this is not just a onetime event. We know all too well what it takes to commit to giving and we are thankful to the Grove community for its pledge to join us and help as we share with those who need it the most right now.”
To aid in the coordination between restaurants and the charitable organizations that will receive and distribute the meals to individuals, the Grove BID partnered with local startup organization OOjEE on this initiative. OOjEE developed its platform by building relationships with local restaurants to offer its members deals and discounts at local eateries.
The startup launched OOjEEShare prior to the pandemic, a branch of the organization that stops excess food from restaurant kitchens from going to waste by delivering the meals to local food banks and charities. Now, as part of the Grove’s Restaurant Recovery Meal Delivery Program, OOjEE brings its longstanding relationships with community food banks and charities to its partnership with the Coconut Grove BID.
“Many of our district restaurants have had to scale down their operations,” said Abigael Mahony, director of the Coconut Grove BID. “Yet, despite everything our restaurants have endured, their devotion to serve the community is clear. With over a dozen restaurants participating in the ‘Grove Stove’ program so far, the Grove BID has been able to deliver nearly 500 meals and counting to those in need.”
For the latest updates on the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, visit coconutgrove.com.