It’s easy to get bogged down with bad news right now, but all around us there are examples of Coloradans doing good for others. Here are some inspiring ways restaurants and other organizations are feeding our communities, from seniors to kids to laid-off workers to healthcare heroes.

For National Doctors’ Day on March 30, Maine Shack delivered clam chowder, mac and cheese, and salads to four Denver hospitals. Now, to continue feeding area medical personnel, the LoHi restaurant has started the Maine Shack for Healthcare Frontline Heroes GoFundMe campaign. For every donation over $25, Maine Shack will give 20 percent back to the donor via a gift card to the restaurant.

When Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs learned that the senior center across the street didn’t have cooks anymore because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brewery started a support campaign. For every meal purchased at the restaurant on a Wednesday, Tommyknocker donated a meal to the senior center the following day. Tommyknocker has gained enough support to feed all 14 residents twice a week, and other neighboring businesses are starting to help out, too.

The Cherry Cricket just launched its Extra Helpings program. For every meal you buy for carryout or delivery, the Cricket will deliver another meal free of cost to someone who needs it. The buyer can even pick who gets the free meal—a loved one, a teacher, a friend, anyone down on their luck—for a tasty pick-me-up.

Instead of wallowing over not being able to kick off the farmers’ market season as planned last Saturday, the Boulder County Farmers Markets did something amazing: The organization distributed 1,000 bags of fruits and vegetables to WIC and SNAP recipients. Starting April 25, everyone will be able to buy the goods when BCFM’s virtual market opens with curbside pick up at Boulder County Fairgrounds.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most brilliant: Fund restaurants to prepare meals for food-insecure families and out-of-work service industry employees, thus keeping restaurant workers employed and those in need fed. That’s the idea behind Colorado Restaurant Response, a new nonprofit connecting 2,000 community members with meals each day. The meals come from some pretty stellar kitchens, too; Rioja, Mercantile, Bar Dough, and Kachina Cantina are all cooking for the initiative.

Foreign Form’s Together t-shirt.

Foreign Form, a RiNo retail store and gallery, has designed a cool t-shirt ($35) and is donating 100 percent of proceeds to Sun Valley Kitchen, a no-cost grocery program that normally distributes food to 60 families but is now up to serving 75 families twice a week. With that number only expected to grow as a result of  the virus’ effect on the economy, funds from Foreign Form’s t-shirt sales are now more important than ever. Plus, the American-made shirts, which read “We are all in this mess together,” beautifully marry form and function.

The city of Golden is doing great things to support its local dining establishments and residents who could use a little help. BGoldN, a public-private nonprofit, provides meals to in-need residents made by local restaurants; participants include Cafe 13Windy Saddle CafeD’DeliNosu RamenBuffalo RoseOld Capitol Grill & SmokehouseLaunch Espresso . Food . Spirits, Mr. Miners Meats & CheeseWoody’s Wood Fired Pizza and Bonfire Burritos. The innovative program hires the Golden restaurants to prepare meals at break-even cost, which in-need residents can then pick up for free twice each day during the week.

Shift Workspaces, a Denver-based co-working firm, established Feed the Frontline Denver and is partnering with local restaurants to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner to doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff members. The company brought 100 meals from Olive & Finch to St. Joseph Hospital last week and made a similar delivery to Denver Health yesterday. While the company started with $2,300 to fund the program, it now plans to raise upwards of $50,000 to continue supporting frontline workers. You can donate to Feed the Frontline Denver here.

Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy is a freelance writer and ice cream fanatic living in Broomfield.