#feedthefrontline is Open Source

#feedthefrontline is popping up all over America!

We began on March 16th 2020 with one $60 order of Brigadeiros (Brazilian dessert) for 1 hospital. A week later, we were spending close to $10,000 per day feeding 12 hospitals, and 1,200 hospital workers with 35 deliveries! Our system is efficient and proven.

Since our inception, we've tried to help anyone who contacted us from another city by sharing learned-lessons, systems that help, and ideas for fundraising, delivery-method, and more.

We believe any city or town anywhere in the world can do this too! We want to "spill all our beans" so to speak - and here are as many details/secrets to success as we can share.

We're adding to this toolkit every day and building it out as we go. If you have questions about anything, give us a shout via the contact form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Overview

Successfully implementing this system involves connecting and coordinating three main components:

Hospitals

They are facing the greatest challenge of their career, risking their lives to save us each and every shift, all the while worried about bringing the virus home to their families. We are helping to give a morale boost, and a tiny bit of of extra sleep. Plus, they need the best possible food to keep them going!

Restaurants

Without support they will go out of business. You will become “life support” for them. But it must be local! The mom and pop place that everyone would be sad if it closed! That’s who you're working to save!

Bon Appetit!
Drivers

You'll pay them to deliver food from restaurants to hospitals. Musicians and artists are a vital part of our local economy here, so we chose to focus on them. Your community may have a different population that is in need!

What makes it possible?

donations + People

This model differs from a traditional food or charity drive in that you’re not seeking in-kind donations of product or services. You’re providing a financial shot in the arm to your local economy - a homegrown economic stimulus.

So you need to raise as much money as possible from individuals and businesses in your community. You need to keep money flowing in and you need access to those funds quickly.

Required: 501(c)(3) status
In order to legally accept funds and for donations to be tax exempt, the money needs to flow through a 501(c)(3)e organization. If you're not already a 501(c)(3), you will need to partner with one. Try to find a partner that is as locally rooted in your community as possible - i.e. a church or other service organization. You need to be as nimble as possible and avoid the red tape of a large organization. Smaller and more local is better.

Once you find your organization, work with them to get your cash streams/payment platforms set up and ensure that donations to your efforts are tracked separately from any other income or gifts that the organization may be receiving. We use a combination of several payment platforms so that if we experience a glitch or delay in one, we still have dollars coming in through another.

Here are some pros/cons of the platforms we are currently using:

Venmo: $3,000 limit for a 7-day period for payments (to restaurants, deliveries, etc). $20,000 limit on how much money you can send to your bank account in a 7-day window.

PayPal: Easy, seamless payments. Quick deposits to your account.

Stripe: Easy and fast once set up, but requires a bit of technical know-how to integrate the payment form on a webpage.

GoFundMe: most people are comfortable with it, but for 501(c)(3)s, they hold funds for a month before releasing to your account. That can become a problem if you need quick access to cash.

Direct ACH: This is good for bigger donations, make sure to have the proper paperwork ready to go. (voided check, 501(c)(3) letter, etc. - check with your bank for requirements)


Make sure that your partner organization's EIT (tax ID) is tied to each platform account, and be ready to give this number to donors who plan to write off their contributions on their taxes or request donation matches from their employer.

Hospitals

This part is very important, for obvious reasons!

Have you ever found a package of food on your porch? What if it was unlabeled? Would you want to eat it? What about during a COVID-19 outbreak?

During a global pandemic, hospitals do NOT want random people showing up with food treats. DO NOT DO THIS! It’s vital that you communicate with the hospital ahead of time.

First though, find your point of contact. Seek out a doctor or nurse (or anyone!) that works in the ER or ICU. When they’re not at work, tell them what you want to do (feed them!). Once they’re on board, ask them:

1. How many people are on staff? Day time? Night time? Include everyone! Nurses, doctors, techs, security, cleaning! (they all are risking their lives)

2. What time or times are best for delivery?

3. What is the best number to call when the food arrives? This is essential! You want a desk in the ER that always has someone staffing it! Or maybe a point-person or two. But since schedules always change it’s good to have a steady number.

4. What are the exact delivery/hand-off instructions? Which entrance/parking lot?

Restaurants

The speech we like to use starts with “we are life support.”

Most restaurants have just laid off their staff. Their revenues have plummeted or completely disappeared. There’s a natural tendency to lean towards self-preservation (they have to look out for their business of course!)

So, we ask each restaurant to be a team player – and to give us their survival price point – which is going to be different for each restaurant. Then we maintain the amount of business for each restaurant – the whole time!

You just have to be careful how quickly you add more restaurants – otherwise you won’t be able to give each the level of business they need to stay alive on life support.

Delivery system

Picking up from the restaurant is the easy part.
The hard part is bringing the food to the hospital. So, once you have worked out your delivery method with your hospital-partner, we like to train one person per hospital.

Once they learn the routine, the deliveries flow like clock-work.

We pay our New Orleans musicians 75$ per delivery. (the average “fair” price for a musician here, for an hour of music is $100. So, we like to get ¾ of that). $75 is enough money to take the delivery seriously and provide a meaningful financial boost for the driver.

It helps streamline everything (rather than relying on volunteers).

Delivery people should wear masks and gloves, and have sanitizer in their car.

Fundraising Tips and Tricks

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Download donation request letter

Note: many companies offer donation matching for their employees. This means that if someone gives you $100, their company will also give you $100! If you know someone who is donating works for a large company, it's worth suggesting that they check with their employer to see if it's offered.