Restaurants struggling to find customers and people who are struggling to find food are getting some relief, thanks to a local program funded in part by the federal CARES Act grant. Salt Lake City’s Local Business and Entrepreneurship Manager Roberta Reichgelt shares a great new development happening in our local restaurant community.
It’s a solution that organizers at the non-profit administering the Nourish to Flourish Initiative call ‘connecting the dots’. Started several months ago at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nourish to Flourish is a partnership between restaurants, service organizations and community funders to provide meals to those in need.
With $450,000 from the CARES Act, the county appropriated funds to the project that provides work for struggling restaurants while helping those in need. Bonus: the meals are healthy and nutritious.
The program is also backed by local Salt Lake City business Sentry Financial. “When you’re in the middle of a lockdown, you have to view things differently,” said Jonathan Ruga, Sentry CEO and co-founder of the Lightspark Foundation, in a recent interview with KSL.
The real magic happens when business, community, and government work together to make it happen.
One of the restaurant groups who recently joined the initiative was Premier Catering. John Tuutau and Daniel Advincula who run PIK2AR’s Premier Cafe & Catering, recognized the need and stepped in to help. As a result their business is staying afloat and they are helping provide meals to those in need.
PIK2AR, Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources, is a strength based ecosystem that creates alliances and bridges communities in our community. And in this case, it was help for a small business owner.
Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou, Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR) Executive Director says, “Many people assisted along this path. Gratitude to Daniel who gave us Premier Catering, to John’s experience, knowledge and hard work, to Roberta at SLC Economic Development Office for her referral, to Pomaikai, Taro Patch Catering for taking care of the Cafeteria. This development came after a time when Daniel Advincula was hospitalized with Covid — a downward spiral that had a domino effect not just physically but mentally and spiritually. We are all very glad that he has recovered and back on a strong path that will support Premier Catering beyond the pandemic.
Nourish to Flourish is a big win for all of PIK2AR as the income will be shared with all programs’ sustainability. This is the first of several contracts we are working on. Please refer any catering opportunities to John Tuutau he will find the best fit for your event whether it be a food vendor within the Pacific Island Business Alliance or Premier Catering.”
Through the program, Premier Catering is currently providing 90 meals a day 5 days a week for the City’s YouthCity program with an option to expand.
Other participating Salt Lake City restaurants include Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen, Diversion Social Eatery, Greek Souvlaki, Spice Kitchen Incubator, Moochie’s, Trio, Publik, and Himalayan Kitchen.
At the time of this article Nourish to Flourish has provided over $230,000 in revenue to our local restaurants. To learn more about this program go to www.nourishtoflourish.org.