‘We were trying to come up with a way we can help’: Hatch Kitchen RVA creates program to help those struggling with food access during the pandemic

Positively Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A group of local chefs is helping those struggling with food access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hatch Kitchen RVA, described as a ‘food and beverage incubator’ by the director of kitchen operations, Ryan Evans, provides kitchen space for restaurants and chefs looking to start a business.

“We’re trying to create a space where people can start their food businesses in a safe and legal way with a kitchen that has all the equipment and everything they would need to get up and running,” Evans said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, Evans and owner Austin Green decided to step in.

“We started seeing a lot of our friends in the restaurant industry getting laid off, and we were looking at all the equipment we have, the space we had in the kitchen, these friends of ours who were sitting at home with nothing to do – and we were trying to come up with a way we can help,” Evans told 8News.

They started ‘Hatch Helps,’ a donation-based program where volunteers prepare hundreds of meals and food is then donated to those in need.

The kitchen pairs with local non-profits and churches, like Mount Olive Baptist Church, who then distribute more than 400 meals a week. Evans says he hopes it helps already overwhelmed food banks.

Volunteers from Mount Olive Baptist Church picking up a load of soup to be delivered.

“The lines have just gotten longer and longer,” Evans said. “Ideally, it lessens the load of people going directly to them.”

While it’s one way to help, Evans says there are always opportunities to make a difference.

“This was a problem before COVID, it’s a bigger problem now. It’s going to continue to be a problem,” Evans said.

To see how you can help, click here.

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