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Taste Test This: ‘Urban Recipe and Woodward Combine to Feed Those in Need’

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This post originally appeared on Beyond the Gate: The Woodward Academy Blog and was published May 20, 2020. A preview is available below.

Urban Recipe

In the Woodward Academy Middle School Cafeteria, volunteers unload, pack, and move boxes of emergency food aid. Kate Byars

It was Easter Sunday and Jeremy Lewis woke up with an idea.

Lewis, ’96, is the CEO of Urban Recipe, a 29-year-old Grant Park-based nonprofit food cooperative. Rather than simply handing out food to those in need, it brings low-income families into the organization as members to create lasting food security.

This effort typically means families, staff, and volunteers work side-by-side in Urban Recipe’s 2,000-square-foot location, sorting food for families to take home.

Once COVID-19 struck, however, Urban Recipe faced a crunch. There was more need for food than ever with people stuck at home and thousands losing their jobs. At the same time, the demands of social distancing made it impossible to bring co-op members together safely.

They shifted the model to food delivery, rather than bringing families to the location. That was a struggle, though, packing tens of thousands of pounds of food each week using the location’s small driveway for a network of drivers—mostly volunteers and some help from Lyft and UPS. Then came the Easter idea.

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