While first responders continue to put their lives on the line during the recent pandemic, many will miss a meal during the day, but Urth Caffé is hoping to partner with local community members to ensure the emergency workers’ bellies are as warm as their hearts.

It’s been a few weeks since safer-at-home orders were instituted by state officials, but Santa Monica police officers, firefighters and paramedics can still be heard on local streets rushing to answer the calls of the community.

In an effort to help those who help others, Urth Caffé Santa Monica began raising funds this week for its Feed Our First Responders Program, which seeks to supply individual Urth Caffé Lunch Box meals that will be delivered to the Santa Monica Police and Fire Departments from Monday, April 20 to Friday, April 24.

“We got this idea to feed first responders a couple of weeks ago when this first started. One of my friends said she knew someone working really hard in Cedars-Sinai’s emergency room and they have all of the masks and personal protective equipment that they need, but what they really want more than anything is good food,” Urth Caffé co-founder Shallom Berkman said Tuesday. “They wanted to be fed food that will lift their spirits.”

So Berkman and the staff at Urth Caffé headed down to the hospital last Saturday to serve up 200 meal boxes that included cookies, sandwiches and the establishment’s signature organic heirloom coffee.

“It’s what we’re known for, but we do a lot more than just coffee,” Berkman said. “We have a full café menu of sandwiches and soups and we bake everything ourselves, (including) our great pastries, desserts and bread. But our specialty is that we’re dedicated to developing relationships — direct relationships with many family farmers — so a lot of what everybody is eating is fresh and local, sustainable and organic whenever possible.”

The Urth Caffé team was so charged up from the Cedars-Sinai event that it made a goal to try and serve 1,000 first responders, “so our workers from each surrounding local branch are matching every dollar donated by customers and the community,” Berkman said. “They cost about $15 per meal but people can donate any amount and we’ll match it.

In only the second day of the promotion, Berkman said Tuesday, “We’re 30% of the way to our goal and we’re getting tremendous feedback, so people are so pumped up about it and they thank us for giving them an opportunity to thank the first responders. It’s a pretty amazing response.”

Berkman added, “I really admire all of the first responders because they’re out on the street every day watching and protecting our communities. And it really is a risk with the Covid-19 situation so it feels so good to be able to give them something delicious, nutritious and show them that we love them. We’re grateful for that.”

Guests can donate to “Feed Our First Responders” from now until April 19 online at www.urthcaffe.com or by calling the café at (310) 314-7040.


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