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‘It takes a village’: Rice Village launches campaign to deliver thousands of meals to healthcare workers at Texas Medical Center

Learn how you can contribute to the cause

Politan Row
Politan Row (Drake Preston)

Rice Village launched an initiative dubbed Fare for Care, a meal donation campaign to feed healthcare workers at the Texas Medical Center during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rice Management Company, owner of the 1938 shopping district The Village, provided $50,000 in seed money for the meal donation program - enough to fund the first 5,000 meals - and will match community donations for at least another 5,000 meals, potentially serving more than 15,000 meals to emergency room and critical care teams at three hospitals in the Texas Medical Center: CHI St. Luke’s Health, Houston Methodist Hospital, and Memorial Hermann.

“We wanted to make sure we took care of our neighbors,” said Rice Village Senior General Manager, Aj Coffee.

Rice Management company devised the program as a way to tackle two issues: Medical professionals working long and stressful hours on our front lines of defense against the pandemic and Rice Village restaurants suffering a drastic reduction in business, spurring difficult layoffs.

“Given the robust culinary offerings at Rice Village and our close proximity the Texas Medical Center, we created FARE for CARE as a way to give back to the heroic healthcare workers who are risking their own lives to save others while simultaneously supporting our restaurant partners as they face a challenging time,” said Rice Management Company Investment Manager Cecilia “Ceci” Arreola. “And it gives our neighbors a tangible way to show love and support for the brave women and men on the medical frontlines.”

The campaign prompted Politan Row, the district’s food hall, to reopen. It’s resident chef’s are among those who will prepare the meals for healthcare workers. Politan Row, which had only been open since November, had been closed for several weeks following deceleration of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order. The unique venture had struggled with how to reorganize its operations amidst the restrictions.

“This gives them an opportunity to reopen, get back in the kitchen and do what they love to do,” Coffee said.

Additional Rice Village restaurants – including Mendocino Farms, Sixty Vines, and Sweetgreen – are also contributing to the program.

On Thursday, Rice Village delivered its first batch of meals to healthcare workers in the Texas Medical Center. The program delivered meals throughout the day to ensure medical personnel received fresh, warm food regardless of what shift they worked.

“We’re making multiple deliveries throughout the day, evening and night so that we can ensure that no matter what shift they come in on there is food available to them and it’s fresh and it’s nourishing.”

Coffee said the program has already received an enthusiastic response from healthcare workers.

“When you can tell someone is smiling through their eyes, behind those masks, that’s a beautiful sight and to know you’re a part of causing that joy for them,” Coffee said.

Do you want to support the meal donation campaign? Here’s how you can help:

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Fare for Care campaign can make a donation at https://rice-village.com/fare-for-care. All proceeds from the campaign will apply toward ingredient purchasing and meal preparation. Neither Rice Management Company nor Rice Village will receive any profits from the operation and implementation of the Fare for Care program.

Rice Management Company will match donations for at least the next 5,000 meals.

“Any contribution is money toward a meal and anything is helpful,” Coffee said. “We utilize every penny of those funds to make sure that those medical workers are fed and fed well. We want to feed them so that they can utilize that energy that we give to them to those patients that need them so desperately.”

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