"It’s our community. They’re keeping our community safe. They’re keeping our community healthy. It's out time to repay them," said John Kanellopoulos, the owner of By the Dock Seafood Restaurant in Middle River.
When the coronavirus outbreak came to Maryland, said he wanted to find away to help those on the forefront of the pandemic and keep his business open. He worked with Ross Hauff, the owner of Dolly Llama Media, and came up with Feed the Front Line Baltimore where they give meals to front line workers.
"The great thing is we're not just giving out chicken sandwiches. We’re not giving out egg sandwiches. We're giving out jumbo lump crab cakes," said Kanellopoulos. He added, "it's a win win with keeping our business a float, our employees are coming out we’re delivering the meals. Feels great. We’re feeding these healthcare people so it’s a win win for everybody."
They don't have all of their employees working right now. Like every restaurant, they couldn't keep on their whole staff. Kanellopoulos said that was the hardest part about this entire situation, not having work for employees who have been like family. With Feed the Front Line Baltimore, he's able to keep his full kitchen staff and some other employees.
Within 24 hours of coming up with the idea, Hauff got the website up and running, ready for orders. He said, "we tried to strategize how we could still make a difference, how we could help. We kind of recognize this was not a good money making time. This was going to be more of a time to focus on community." Hauff stressed he always has a community driven attitude and the majority of his clients, like Kanellopoulos, are very pay it forward people.
The site is both for donating meals and an outlet for those front line workers.
"A lot of health professionals are getting on thee and telling us hey we’re here we’re 25 people. We’re at Johns Hopkins, we’re fifty people so we’re getting a lot of people that want the meals and want us to help them out," said Kanellopoulos.
The other use of the website is for people donate meals. You can donate to hospitals, fire departments, police departments or where ever you think needs/wants a little pick me up. The By the Docks workers will do the cooking and delivering.
"We take the risk we go out there. We are essential. We can be on the roads," said Kanellopoulos. He added, "we could have door dash deliver them. We're taking them out personally because we wanna thank them."
On each delivery they let those essential workers know who donated their meals. They record all of their deliveries so you can follow along with them on their Facebook page.
"It really is nice to have one spot that allows us to create videos and show people actually receiving the meals which I think is a really nice heart warming thing and that’s allow a lot more people to share the story. In turn more people get to work here and more people get free food at the hospitals who are working all night long," said Hauff.