HOW DID WE START?
We really started as a handful of friends who wanted to activate and help our local healthcare workers and struggling small, independent restaurants at the same time.
In LA, not surprisingly, we are filmmakers, musicians, writers, artists with no one in the restaurant or medical field.
In Marin, we are a group of moms from all professional backgrounds, including an OB/GYN doctor.
We all knew a few people wanting to help. And we all want to save our beloved restaurants.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS?
1) Core Group. Reach out to your circle of friends and see who will step up.
It is a commitment. But what else are we doing right now ? Within your friend circle you all have to reach out and raise money. (None of us are wealthy, but we are determined to help!) The people who want to do this with you will reveal themselves and then you will have your “core group.” You need about 6 people on your team to start this right. Less than that is too much work and you will burn out from inefficiency. As you gain momentum, add more people to your volunteer roster and delegate the calls, emails, etc.
You will need:
Master organizer (someone who handles google docs and spreadsheets). This
person oversees everyone’s tasks and keeps it flowing.
Driver connector/volunteer gatherer
Raising money is vital. You can’t buy food and help the restaurants in need feed the workers in need without fundraising. So shout loudly.
2) Email. Write up an email stating your mission and send it out to everyone you know. When the LA group first did this it was a group text of 8 people. They asked for $25/each so they could buy sandwiches to take to the ER. They thought they’d need $200, but within an hour they had $500. That was a nice order for a small restaurant nearby that needed that inflow. Their friends felt activated and so we then sent an email chain. At first they just used Venmo but do not recommend this. Even though you are honest, your donors will hesitate, especially if your email gets forwarded out of your friend circle. You need to be clear that you are legit. You won’t get as many donations if you are not clearly a legitimate organization.
The LA group realized quickly they were committed and wanted to make an impact, so they reached out to a nonprofit group (March On) which became their fiscal sponsors and set us up under their 501C3 umbrella.
Among the Marin group was an Executive Director of a health-oriented non-profit, which became their fiscal sponsor.
You don’t have to do this, but it made sense for us because we wanted to go bigger. You can set up a donation pool via PayPal.
3) Hospitals. If someone in your group has a friend who is a doctor at your hospital or relative or friend-of-a-friend who works at the hospital USE THAT CONNECTION. If not, research your local hospital and get in touch with the administration. For some ER’s the person who you will schedule meals with is the “charge nurse”. Other ER’s want you to go through other departments. Your hospital connector needs to find out each hospital’s protocol. But no matter the variables, your hospital connector needs to set up a relationship with someone in the ER for scheduling. You need this point person at the hospital. If you’re starting from scratch, Google the phone number at the ER, go through the automated system until you get a human who
gets you to the charge nurse or administration. It is a process. Having a line to someone who helps you with scheduling meals will dramatically cut down the bureaucracy dealing with hospitals when you’re delivering food! The charge nurse wants their staff fed. They’re happy to work with you if you’re providing delicious free meals.
4) Shifts. Now that you have a connection to the charge nurse or administrator at your hospital(s), find out the shifts and number of mouths to feed per shift and the times they need meals. This informs everything. Your hospital connector will talk to your master organizer to put these times into a spreadsheet.
5) Restaurants. Your next big task is sourcing local restaurants YOU ALL LOVE and want to remain in business... and who adhere to safe glove/mask standards. Your restaurant connector makes this list with your core group and then cold calls these restaurants. If anyone on your team has a family restaurant or a connection, great, use it!
This is another spreadsheet that your master organizer makes a Google doc to house your restaurant roster — Once your restaurant connector finds out which restaurants want to work with you, your master organizer assigns meals to shifts.
6) Delivery. We wanted as much money going to the restaurants so we decided not to use delivery from restaurants as this cuts in to their overhead. Our mission is to help restaurants save as much as possible during these times and so we went the volunteer delivery route because so many restaurants are working with skeleton crews now we wanted to preserve their resources as much as possible. We reached out to our community and created a volunteer roster. People aren’t working at their normal place of work these days, so it works for us for now.
Figure out what works for you and the restaurants you’re working with. We also decided not to use Postmates, Door Dash etc because we wanted to control our volunteer’s glove/mask usage. But again, this is a decision for your group. If you decide to replicate our delivery model, you a driver/volunteer connector who matches up the driver to the pick-up time and hospital drop off. This gets put into a spreadsheet that your master organizer logs.
6) Budget. Once you have some money in, you make a budget. In LA and Marin, in general, there are 60-150 mouths on any given shift, depending on the hospital. You have to budget cost per meal. Example... you order $10/per meal for 100 people, your cost is $1,000.
7) Shout out the word. Raise the awareness... take pictures, show the love, show the support, link the restaurant to the image of the healthcare workers receiving the food... tag their menu, tag their website. Post! Help them.
We hope this helps you to get started... we hope this finds you healthy and safe and MOTIVATED to go out and make it happen. We can’t tell you how good it feels to help a struggling business and to feed people who are working to help others. That is the biggest take away.
Go do it.
Keep us posted on how you get on. Ask questions. Send pics @dineoneone and we will post your efforts! We are all in this together.
If you need help, just ask us! Activate! Motivate! YOU CAN DO IT!
Your comrades at Dine 1 1 LA and Marin