Off Their Plate provides economic relief for restaurant employees and nutritious meals for frontline health workers
With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting lives across the world and placing an unprecedented strain on the global economy and healthcare system, Richard Lu (MBA 1+1 2016), is supporting the United States response through his work with Off Their Plate.
Off Their Plate is a not-for-profit grassroots initiative that partners with local restaurants and hospitals to provide economic relief for restaurant employees and nutritious meals for frontline health workers. Founded by Natalie J. Guo, a classmate of Richard’s at Harvard Medical School, Off Their Plate was born with the intention of supporting these two separate industries that are heavily impacted by the crisis.
Richard, currently in his second year of medical school, started working with Off Their Plate after his class was asked to stay home from their hospital clinical rotations. 'As future physicians,” he said “we all felt such a calling to support the Covid-19 response, and I was immediately struck by Natalie’s vision. We are proud to be able to support vulnerable employees in an industry facing deep economic hardship during this pandemic, and also ensure that our over-worked hospital staff are getting the nutritious meals they need during long work shifts.'
In little over a month, Off Their Plate has made huge progress. What started as a local Boston initiative serving 90 meals in its first week has now become a national movement. Since their launch in March, they have raised over $3 million and are operational in eight other cities: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Seattle. This week, Richard says they are serving 32,000 meals to over 110 hospitals and healthcare centres across the nation. 'Every $100 donation supports 10 meals to frontline workers, and we ensure that at least half of every donation is contributed towards employee wages.'