Local restaurant delivers over 3,000 Thanksgiving meals to area’s seniors

Local News

BETHESDA, Md. (WDVM) — Medium Rare Restaurant delivered over 3,000 free Thanksgiving meals following a tweet asking for people to send information about their senior relatives who may be celebrating the holiday alone. This was a continuation of their efforts to address food insecurity in seniors during COVID-19.

“People will hear the message that society has missed these folks,” Mark Bucher, the co-founder of Medium Rare, said.

246 volunteer drivers teamed up to get all of the meals out in one day after Medium Rare in Arlington began preparations on Sunday. Some of these drivers, like Elliot Harkavy, had volunteered for Medium Rare before.

“This is not the flu, this is a deadly pandemic. And we need to do whatever we can to protect our community, and this is my way of participating in that,” Harkavy said.

Bucher said that they had tried to implement a 45-minute drive radius around Washington for people who requested meals. Because of this, he said they had to turn down about 20% of their requests due to distance alone.

Despite this restriction, they still hit a bump when several drivers were unable to help as much as anticipated due to time restraints.

“It was at that moment where I was sitting at that table on my computer going what do I do. I just put them in Ubers,” said Bucher.

At the end of the day, all of these “ready to heat” meals reached their destinations.

“It means a lot to me. If I didn’t get these, I’d probably starve to death,” one recipient, Joseph Alfred Bundy, said with a smile.

“It’s so hard. Thanksgiving is about family being together,” said Harkavy.

Bucher said he hopes that other restaurants will follow in their footsteps to tackle food insecurity, especially in seniors, during the pandemic.

“How do I feel that it’s all done… empowered to make a difference,” he said.

Medium Rare will be conducting a similar drive for Christmas. Bucher said that he learned a lot from this experience and that they have already started some planning to hopefully avoid some bumps that they hit this time.

“I didn’t have a doubt that we could do it. It’s just a lot going through it. … you deliver on the promise, and I think for the most part we delivered on the promise,” he said.

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