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New Miami Initiative Raises Funds to Provide Meals to COVID-19 Responders

Updated: May 1



The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) creators of the popular “Miami Spice Restaurant Months” program, launched the ‘Miami Eats. Order Out, Help Out’ program to support local restaurants suffering from the downturn in business created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched on March 20, 2020, the program now has more than 1000 participating restaurants. 


‘Miami Eats’ has now partnered with ‘Meals for Heroes, Miami’, a non-profit, donation-based organization, founded by philanthropist and Miami resident Will Osborne and his son, restaurateur Mac Osborne. ‘Meals for Heroes Miami’, also created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, launched on April 1, 2020.  It seeks to meet two complementary objectives; to feed stressed and exhausted first responders risking their lives daily and provide revenue and protect jobs at Miami restaurants. “Miami is a city built on the hospitality industry, which is being crushed by this pandemic.  This is a fight that is going to be won by our healthcare frontline workers, in conjunction with our first responders.  These three constituencies, hospitality, healthcare, and fire/EMS/police need our support.  Purchasing meals to deliver to these stressed professionals is a sign of support from a grateful community” commented Founder Will Osborne.


“The GMCVB is proud to align the ‘Miami Eats’ program with the ‘Meals for Heroes, Miami’ initiative,” said William D. Talbert, III, CDME, President & CEO, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Miami Eats was born from the Bureau’s commitment to drive demand for the hospitality industry. As the heroes of this community, we could think of no better group than first responders to be recipients of Miami’s best take-out and delivery food providers and with the full force of the bureau’s marketing efforts already in place, there is a great opportunity for ‘Meals for Heroes, Miami’ to utilize the platform of ‘Miami Eats’ to help drive donations to “Meals for Heals, Miami’ so they can expand their efforts”.


HOW IT WORKS

‘Meals for Heroes, Miami’ reaches out to hospitals and testing centers to determine their needs. In partnership with local restaurants, orders are placed for 50 to 500 meals daily to be delivered to each facility. Restaurant partners take all necessary precautions outlined by the CDC, and working with each facility, ensure a contact-less delivery of the meals. Frontline recipients to date include Mount Sinai Medical Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami Baptist Hospital, Miami Baptist Miami Beach, and the Miami Beach Fire Department among others.


In addition to the support of the marketing efforts of the GMCVB through its ‘Miami Eats’ program, ‘Meals for Heroes, Miami’ will also have the support of the City of Miami Beach, which will promote the initiative to their residents. “As our healthcare workers and first responders work tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, I urge the community to consider donating to  ‘Meals for Heroes, Miami’ —  which allows these essential workers to be fed on the frontlines by our local restaurants while keeping workers employed” said Mayor Dan Gelber. “Giving back to others in this way has another much needed consequence: keeping many of our beloved eateries in business and their staff working.”


Additional GMCVB initiatives include; Hotels for Essential Lodgers, a comprehensive list of hotels open for Essential Lodgers during the crisis; Miami Salutes, an initiative calling on restaurants and retailers to extend special offers to heroic frontline and first responders; Help for Tourism, a web page providing the industry and other GMCVB partners a look at how to secure assistance; Virtual Miami, a web portal dedicated to showcasing local virtual events, webcams, video’s showcasing neighborhoods, attractions, museums and experiences that make Greater Miami a world-class destination, as well as unique downloadable backgrounds that capture the beauty and diversity of Greater Miami for remote meetings; and the Miami Pandemic Response Fund, a partnership between the GMCVB, United Way of Miami-Dade, Miami Herald/Nuevo Herald, Health Foundation of South Florida and The Miami Foundation to create a $500,000 fund to support hospitality workers and their families with emergency needs including food, supplies, utilities, rent/mortgage assistance and micro-grants.


For more information about all of the following programs put together by the GMCVB in response to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on hospitality and tourism in Greater Miami and the Beaches, visit www.MiamiandBeaches.com.


Words by GMCVB