A local philanthropist is working to help feed people one free meal at a time.
Feed the Fridge launched a 10th D.C.-area location on Tuesday in Oxon Hill, Maryland, outside the Glassmanor Community Center.
Mark Bucher, co-owner of Medium Rare Restaurant Group and founder of Feed the Fridge/We Care, said the group has made 300,000 meals for people who need them, and they opened the new location with the help of Adventist Health Care and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
“I am so happy and moved that we have done it,” Bucher said, “We got through the red tape. We’ve got ready-to-eat-meals that are prepared by a great local restaurants. And that will be here every day to make sure that hunger ends here.”
Bucher announced that as of Wednesday, baby formula will be stocked at 10 area Feed the Fridge refrigerators as of Wednesday in D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
Just like the meals, it’s free for the taking, no questions asked.
“We’ve secured a trailerload of Enfamil,” Bucher said, “and we’re going to be putting it in all our fridges free, ready to drink” in tamper-proof bottles. “It’s there for the taking for the next few weeks until the supply chain solves out.”
Feed the Fridge locations:
- The Glassmanor Community Center, at 1101 Marcy Ave., Oxon Hill, Md.
- Latin American Youth Center, at 6200 Sheridan St., Riverdale, Md.
- Gaithersburg High School, at 101 Education Blvd., Gaithersburg, Md.
- Albert Einstein High School, at 11135 Newport Mill Rd., Kensington, Md.
- Mary’s Center, at 344 University Blvd. West, Silver Spring, Md.
- Takoma Park Community Center, at 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, Md.
- Takoma Park Recreation Center, at 7315 New Hampshire Ave., in Takoma Park, Md.
- Rita Bright Family and Youth Center | LAYC, at 2500 14th St. NW, in D.C.
- Ivy City Clubhouse & Court, at 1832 Central Place NE, in D.C.
- Anacostia Community Museum, at 1901 Fort Place SE, in D.C.
So, what inspires a guy in the restaurant business to organize a charity to help feed people? He said no one else was doing it.
“This goes back to the first week COVID was announced,” Bucher said. When he first heard that people who are over 70 or immune-compromised were advised to stay inside, he took to Twitter. “[I] said, ‘If you know of anyone in that situation, Medium Rare will deliver them a free steak dinner,’ just because of how hard would it be to get an elderly person to a meal. Now, three hundred and some-odd thousand meals later, we still do it.”
Feed the Fridge refrigerators stocked with meals from Medium Rare were placed where students were getting free Wi-Fi at rec centers or public libraries.
“We were filling them at that time with Medium Rare meals for free, just for them to eat, because there was no school lunches,” Bucher said.
The growing effort now includes fundraising.
“We buy these meals from local restaurants in the communities that we serve,” Bucher said. “So we put money back in the community to keep our favorite restaurants alive. And there’s no poor person’s meals in these refrigerators. These are restaurant entrees made by chefs.”
So, what inspired Adventist Healthcare to get involved?
Dr. Keith Fisher, the vice president and chief medical officer at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center, said before the news conference that Adventist got involved because “Nutrition is an integral part of health and wellness. It’s the foundation from which everything builds.”