“There are a lot of people here who don’t have the luxury of being able to order Instacart, Postmates, or DoorDash,” he says. “But there’s a much larger percentage of people who have never even heard of those services and who have also been suddenly cut off from their normal routine.”
The Everytable helpline (323-458-6487) is another installment in the chain’s initial plan to help residents left hungry by the coronavirus quarantines. The line is open to all Los Angelenos, but particularly those who are at-risk for illness or hunger: seniors who need food brought to their homes; those whose health care or senior center food services have been interrupted; school districts unsure of strategies for feeding students; employers looking for ways to ensure team members have access to healthy food; and all individuals struggling with access to food due to coronavirus.
After the helpline went live on Monday and Everytable promoted it on its social media accounts, a wave of response came rolling in.
“The response has been both sort of amazing and sort of terrifying,” Polk says. “We’ve received hundreds and hundreds of calls from people who are scared and who don’t know where they’re going to get food.”
The brand is working to fulfill as many helpline calls as possible. Polk says that several caseworkers have reached out on behalf of at-risk clients, as well as senior center leadership looking for emergency food solutions for their facilities.
Everytable is now coordinating with various city council members to locate food and funding to service the helpline requests. Polk says that the company has received requests from outside of Los Angeles, too, speaking to the need faced across the entire U.S. at this time.
“We’re a small-but-mighty company,” he says. “But we’re not national by any means.”
Everytable’s locations are central to underserved, economically-challenged neighborhoods, making the chain’s new initiatives all the more crucial for their customers. Unlike after a natural disaster, where infrastructure is in the process of being rebuilt and aid is being sent in from unaffected areas, cities affected by the coronavirus are dealing with the sickness largely on their own. Attempting to find ways to deliver food to at-risk populations is a critical part of each city’s response strategy.
Polk says that Everytable plans to continue following its brand mission of accessibility throughout this crisis, working to counteract some of the economic hardship that is sure to ensue in coming months.
“I think over the next three to six months you're going to see thousands of businesses close around Los Angeles specifically, and who knows how many workers lose their jobs,” he says. “It has always been our mission to make sure folks are well fed, and it’s about continuing that in a crisis. This is a time for us all to become one big, great human family and take care of each other.