The Kern Community Foundation is helping with a novel idea to support local restaurants and emergency room staff at the same time during the pandemic.

Food for the Frontline Kern County was formed to give the community the opportunity to help raise funds to feed health care workers while keeping local eateries up and operating.

Participation in the program is fairly easy. The public can make donations through the Food for the Frontline website, and that money will go to restaurants to prepare and deliver meals to Kern County emergency room staff. Every dollar raised will feed brave medical personnel who are on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus, while providing assistance to small businesses and their employees impacted by the statewide quarantine. Each meal will cost $20. 

Kelcy's Restaurant was the first local restaurant to participate in the program, delivering 65 meals to Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley last week.

Owner Virginia Sheridan said she read an article promoting the program, and jumped at the chance to participate.

"This is a win-win. We are doing something good for the people who are working at the hospital, delivering them a healthy meal, because they are working such long hours. It's good for us, too, because, as with all restaurants, business is way down," said Sheridan.

According to Sheridan, who owns Kelcy's Restaurant along with her husband, Bill Lee, the influx of cash comes at a much-needed time.

Said Sheridan, "It helps us keep going until we can build up our customers again."

Lee said he was happy to have the opportunity to help health care workers by providing them with a meal.

"I'm just doing what I can do," said Lee.

The program also assists restaurant owners retain their staff.

"I'm really happy to still be working during this time, and it's great to be able to provide good food for the hospital and the community," said Pedro Lopez, Kelcy's cook.

Food for the Frontline is just another way the community has showed its support for the hospital.

“Throughout the last few weeks, our team has experienced an outpouring of support and love from our community through nice notes, encouraging words, and gifts of food. We are so appreciative of the Food for the Frontline donation made possible by Kelcy’s this week," said Christina Scrivner, director of the Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Foundation."These acts of gratitude uplift our team during trying times, and reaffirm what we already know: that we are blessed to serve a community as loving as this one we call home."

George Hay, marketing director for Jim Burke Ford Lincoln in Bakersfield, founded the local effort with support from state Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield.

“Food for the Frontline Kern County is a wonderful local effort by residents to provide some nourishment to our frontline health care workers, but also to support our local restaurants," Fong said. "Our community is a family, and this is a positive way of taking care of each other during this challenging time and helping our local businesses."

Restaurants or catering companies interested in participating are asked to email frontlinekern@gmail.com. Donations can be made online at kernfoundation.org/support-food-for-the-frontline-kern-county/.