Right now, medical workers and healthcare professionals are waging war against COVID-19. Every day they put their lives on the line to help victims of this pandemic. People and companies are assessing their unique strengths and trying to figure out how they might translate into support for this medical infantry. 

One initiative, called #FoundersGive, is using food to provide a little love and relief to healthcare workers in the hard-hit city of New York. The #FoundersGive initiative is amassing donations from some of the largest food brands in the US, including some incredible plant-based companies, to distribute around New York City. 

“When this COVID-19 pandemic hit I knew we needed to pause our content operations and see how we can get involved,” says Cole Riley, founder of Founders Market Co. a media food network based in NYC that just launched in January. “I started texting around to see what other brands and founders were doing. A lot of brands wanted to give to hospitals but didn’t know how to; other brands couldn’t meet the minimum quantity amounts required by certain nonprofits. That’s when I decided to start #FoundersGive to give brands of all sizes an opportunity to donate in a streamlined effort: one organization, no minimum requirements, working with hospitals in the city.” 

Since launching #FoundersGive on March 20, they’ve amassed over 130,000 donated items with more on the way. So far over 50 brands, including KIND, Sabra and many others have donated. #FoundersGive will deploy their first donations at the beginning of April to Lenox Hill, a hospital with more than 4,000 staff and healthcare workers. Next, Metropolitan Hospital which has 1,800 staff. After that, they’ll ramp up deliveries and fulfill food distribution with others including the NewYork-Presbyterian network, NYC Health + Hospitals network and NYU Langone.

“There’s this incredible, positive, optimistic energy surrounding the entire #FoundersGive initiative,” says Riley. “From the warehouse team to the hospital staffers coordinating our upcoming donations to the brands giving hundreds of thousands of dollars of product to these incredible healthcare workers. Everyone is unified.” 

#FoundersGive is also made possible thanks to Mitchell’sNY Logistics in Long Island City. The company is processing all donations, sorting, storing and delivering to the receiving hospitals. “They are the engine behind-the-scenes, the foundation for this whole #FoundersGive initiative to grow and grow. And they’re doing it all for free. #FoundersGive and the whole food and beverage community is so thankful to all the resources and manpower they’re supplying for this cause.”

While the list of brands supporting the #FoundersGive continues to grow, we wanted to highlight a few of the badass plant-based, vegan-friendly brands contributing to the initiative:

Lupii: This recently launched company makes plant-protein packed snack bars that are made of the lupini bean, a best kept plant-based food. Lupii has also supported the Food Bank of New York City, and a few other organizations to cope with the pandemic. Show your love and thanks; order a box of bars! 

OWYN: With these plant-based protein ready-to-drink shakes, nutrition doesn't get much better. With 20 grams of 100% plant-based protein, these drinks deliver all 9 essential amino acids to enhance muscle recovery and promote health. Perfect to sip on as you recover from your at-home workout. Order a pack on their website or Amazon.

Keetz: Snacking has never been so delicious...and healthy. Keetz uses immune-boosting spices and ingredients with powerful antioxidant-properties to create their snack. Stock up on all their flavors here.

Byrd Food: Seeds and nuts are in their finest element with Byrd Food’s snacking clusters. With zero sugar and gluten-free, these guilt-free snacks will keep you going throughout the day. You can eat straight from the bag or use as a topping to add flavor and crunch to avocado toast, salads and more. You can purchase directly on their website.

Amazi Foods: As Amazi likes to say, “snack on purpose,” with these no-sugar, no-preservatives added treats. They offer plantain chips and jackfruit snacks in multiple flavors. They ethically source all their ingredients and support sustainable supply chains throughout the entire production of these good-for-you snacks.
If you want to contribute to or support #FoundersGive, you can see details, and/or fill out the donation form here: https://www.foundersgive.co/get-involved. You can also stay up to date and see giving in action on the #FoundersGive Instagram.

Meanwhile, in Queens, Beyond Sushi Donated Meals to Healthcare Workers

The vegan, plant-based and kosher chain Beyond Sushi in NYC delivered hospital meals to 42 health care workers at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens this week as the result of a community fundraiser organized by the restaurant's owners Guy and Tali Vaknin. For every $200 raised, they'll send another care package of individual meals to a local hospital. The husband and wife duo are kicking things off with a donated delivery of their own at Metropolitan Hospital later this week. To donate you can visit this site.

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