Chefs cook dinner for 1,000 Detroit families impacted by pandemic for the holidays

A handful of chefs are cooking up holiday cheer at Marygrove College for a number of families who could use a helping hand.

"A lot of folks don’t know they’re loved and this is an act of love," said Chef Phil Jones.

Jones, the lead chef, is from Make Food Not Waste - an organization whose mission is its name.

"If you think about the number of calories that we waste and just throw away, forty percent of our food never makes it to a home, never makes it to a dinner table, never makes it to the refrigerator - it’s just thrown out," he said. "We are saving that stuff."

But this Christmas these meals will make it to at least 1,000 families in Detroit negatively impacted by the pandemic. Jones estimates that’s roughly 5,000 to 6,000 people.

"Every dollar, every dime that you can save and not spend on food, can go to all these other bills we’re experiencing now," Jones said. "We know that people need to pay their rent, people need to pay for their lights and heat, and take care of their families in general.

"So allowing them to focus their money in other places is really the goal and to let people know they’re cared about."

Chef Ederique Gaudia from Gabriel Hall crafted the holiday menu.

"The families will get mango chicken curry along with rice pilaf, sautéed collard greens, dill butter carrots, and sweet potato bake," she said. "I think in the holiday season it would be great if families are fed healthy meals and it doesn’t have to be frozen collards it can be fresh collards."

Like the families they’re serving, these chefs were also hit hard by the pandemic, but are willingly sacrificing their time to help others in need. 

"They’re giving of themselves and like I said Black women are the nurturers of our community," said Jones. "They could be anywhere, they could be doing their catering. But they put in a lot of time and a lot of effort and it goes to show that they actually, it’s really all about community, it’s about people."

Several non-profits will be picking up these holiday meals on Christmas Eve to deliver them to families throughout the city.