LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A local meal preparation company based in Lexington has mobilized for the second time in a year to feed restaurant industry workers whose jobs have been cut or whose hours have been reduced.
"The [restaurants] that struggled in March and April and made it were trying to get back on track," said Rebecca Shepherd-Smith, co-owner of BalanceBleu. "This has just cut their knees out from under them."
Shepherd-Smith is referring to the recently imposed restrictions, which among other things, bans indoor dining at restaurants.
"They saw the governor say that restaurants were shutting back down," said Shepherd-Smith's business partner, Grant Wilson. "It's just like, 'Oh God, am I going to be able to feed my family?'"
In an effort to try to assuage those concerns, BalanceBleu has launched www.feedthelex.com, a website aimed at delivering homemade meals to these workers.
The initiative started in March, when the threat of the novel coronavirus prompted Gov. Andy Beshear to shut down in-person dining at all restaurants.
"When the pandemic first hit and there were initial shutdowns, we started taking donations," Shepherd-Smith explained. "And we had a huge outpouring of donations."
During the course of the pandemic, the company has delivered more than 1,000 meals. Over the next three weeks, while the restrictions are in place, the meals will be free of charge.
While the co-owners of the company are eager to help people in the industry, they recognize that this is just one small piece of a larger puzzle. Even more crucial, they say, is money for the restaurant industry in another stimulus package.
"For a lot of restaurants, it's going to be the difference between keeping the business open they've worked for their entire lives," Wilson said. "Or shutting down."