WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Many businesses have been shuttered for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But one West Palm Beach restaurant is putting its large dining area to good use.
The doors remain closed to the public at Grato in West Palm Beach, but the inside of the restaurant has been transformed into a production facility.
With metal tables stationed six feet apart, this is the hub of a newly formed non-profit organization to help feed thousands of underserved children and families, health care workers, and first responders in South Florida.
"We just thought it was a great opportunity to create a facility where we can spread out and cost effectively and safely produce food," said Sam Slattery, a managing partner of Grato.
Shortly after the coronavirus forced Grato to temporarily close, the non-profit Buccan Provisions was launched.
Donations are now helping produce the nutritious meals that are being distributed free to the community.
"We're staggering our shifts so our cooks are starting in the morning, our prep in the afternoon, and evening our waiters are now our packing team," said Zach Bell, the culinary director of Buccan Provisions.
The crew is preparing more than 1,500 meals per day, and the non-profit's agency partners like the Guatemala Maya Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and several others are distributing the food to those in need.
"We knew that we had to do something, knew we had these resources. We know how to cook and how to cook for large quantities," said Bell.
The workers are practicing safe hygiene and following a set of guidelines while trying to provide a warm meal and help to those that are struggling.
"We re-employed about 20 people right now in this capacity, and we anticipate bringing on a few more," said Bell.
The non-profit is looking to increase production to 3,000 meals per day because the demand has increased, and they're hoping to continue this mission for as long as possible.
To donate to Buccan Provisions, click here.