DENVER — A Denver based nonprofit is doubling the impact of each donation it receives by helping restaurants and people in need of food at the same time.
Brice Flamant founded Fork A Meal in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to grip the city of Denver.
A native of France, Flamant grew increasingly concerned the small, local restaurants creating Denver's vibrant culinary scene wouldn't survive the pandemic.
"I think maybe it's related to my French roots but it's a big part of me going out for dinner with friends and just enjoying a good time in a nice and unique place," Flamant told 9NEWS.
Simultaneously, he saw fewer and fewer people able to take advantage of that luxury as the financial toll of the pandemic bore down on Coloradans.
Flamant created Fork A Meal to assist both restaurants and families facing food scarcity in one fell swoop.
"With our approach, your donation has twice the impact. You help the family and you also help local restaurants," Flamant said.
Givers, as Fork A Meal calls them, donate a meal from one of six partner restaurants for either an individual or family on the organization's website.
Each purchase, or donation, generates a coupon which is then made available to Grabbers, or individuals vetted by Fork A Meal and the Denver Rescue Mission, in need of food.
"It's really important to me because anytime we can eliminate food insecurities for our guests, that's just one less thing our guests have to worry about," Kevin Baker, the Food and Beverage Director for the Denver Rescue Mission, told 9NEWS.
The participating restaurant receives all proceeds from the donation and an individual or family in need of food gets a free meal along with a moment of comfort, as Flamant described it.
"Going to the restaurants and being surrounded by a nice, warm, welcoming aura is always nice for them. Especially this weekend when it’s going to be super cold. We want them to be somewhere that’s warm and welcoming," he said.
Participating restaurants also provide weekly meal service for guests of the Denver Rescue Mission, which Baker described as "really awesome for me and my staff because we're now not only able to help other restaurants in the Denver metro stay in business but we get to serve our guests... our guests love it and our staff loves it."
Fork A Meal is seeking additional local restaurants to join the program.
Flamant told 9NEWS cities like Phoenix, Atlanta and Boston are interested in copying the model created here in Denver.
"I would say the beauty of it is that it's extremely easy to replicate the system and the approach," he said.
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