Washington, D.C. (WDVM) — Medium Rare Restaurants are giving back with free Thanksgiving dinner deliveries to anyone over 70 who is spending the holiday alone and unable to get a traditional meal. These meals will contain a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, gravy and more.
“We’ve been feeling the area Seniors since March 3 when the pandemic was in the very beginning,” said co-founder Mark Bucher.
Bucher said they had previous free deliveries on Mother’s Day and on several other occasions. On typical delivery days, they would have around 20-40 a night; on Mother’s Day, they delivered around 250 brunches. For Thanksgiving, they currently have about 1,000 orders with over a week to go until their delivery day on the Wednesday before the holiday.
“It’s a logistical challenge to make sure that we get everyone routed right and the deliveries routed right and things figured out, but you know what we learn as we go, we’ll figure it out,” he said.
These orders started flowing in after a tweet received over 1,000 likes.
Bucher said they had first expected at most 300-400 meals; this large response has come as a surprise to them, and they have since started accepting donations at their GoFundMe to help cover costs.
“$16 can buy a Thanksgiving meal for someone,” he said.
Medium Rare has three locations in DC, Arlington and Bethesda. These restaurants are preparing the free meals that will be delivered by volunteer drivers as well as some DoorDash drivers. The meals are “ready to heat” and will be delivered over the span of 8 hours throughout Wednesday.
Bucher said that restaurants everywhere have learned how to make quality food for delivery due to an increase in online orders after COVID. He hopes that large-scale changes will be made, including in school cafeterias.
“The restaurant business will likely never be the same again. (I hope) that we’re able to work with the counties, states and cities and have them contract with the restaurants to provide school lunches into public schools. It’s a steady stream of business, and frankly, the meals are better more nutritious and the kids are more likely to eat lunch if it tastes good,” he said.
Bucher said that they have been working with social service agencies in D.C. to keep an open line of communication if delivery drivers notice that any household necessities are needed as well as to select recipients based on needs.
“Our goal honestly is to get to everyone, we don’t want to leave anyone out, but given that we’re already at 1000, there’s only so many hours in a day, we have to start being a little more careful,” Bucher stated.
He said, “This also got us more aware of how dire food insecurity is with the area’s elderly, especially ones who don’t have smartphones and don’t order Uber eats and cannot order in groceries.”
Bucher hopes that other restaurants will follow in their footsteps in years to come.
“Thanksgiving is one of those meals that is really hard to make for one person, and this allows families not to worry about their parents or their grandparents and knowing that they’ll have Thanksgiving dinner and they can zoom or FaceTime families at the same time,” he said.