Local employees donate part of their salaries for relief meal packs

Community Over Crisis

Mercato partners employees donate part of salary for meal packs. Courtesy: Mark Newman

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – There’s a myriad of challenges many across the nation face amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Health, loss of jobs, stress, finances and obtaining a hot meal immediately come to mind.

Employees at One Utah company recognized the critical need for the community to maintain proper nourishment.

Related: Sallie Mae donates 200K to Utah Food Bank

Employees at Mercato partners, a multi-practice firm decided to voluntarily donate portions of their earnings, ranging from 10% to 25% to fund Relief meal packs for healthcare providers, first responders and others affected by the crisis . ABC4 spoke with director Joe Kaiser about this initiative.

Mercato Savory Fund created the Food Relief Packs program to offer low-cost, tax-deductible meals at a highly discounted price that can be purchased by employers, institutions, or organizations for their teams. Each hot meal pack feeds six to eight people, comprised of prepared food from Costa VidaMo’Bettahs Hawaiian Style, or R&R BBQ and costs $25.

Kaiser says in the last two weeks over 1100 meal packs have been delivered to hospitals and schools from Salt Lake City to Provo. “One relief meal pack can feed between 6 and 8 people” Kaiser tells ABC4.

In a time where many restaurant owners are forced to cut employee hours or lay workers off, this program is actually saving jobs. While the relief packs are being donated, cooks and other restaurant staff are hard at work preparing the meals as well as loading them into vehicles for delivery in a socially distanced manner.

Mercato has partnered with the Community Foundation of Utah to ensure Relief Packs funded by these donations get to those most in need at this time. Alex Eaton, CEO of the Community Foundation of Utah tells ABC4, “this is a natural role for the foundation, we feel fortunate to be flexible and nimble to turn an idea such as this at the drop of a dime. We are committed to partnering with the Relief Packs program to ensure meals go to those most in need and encourage others to do so. It will help us fight this battle and preserve vital elements of our economy.”

Related: Davis County Education Foundation to hosted food pantry parade

The Relief Pack meal program will continue for the foreseeable future says Joe Kaiser of Mercato Partners. ” It’s a fulfilling experience to give back to the community that has supported us since 2007,” says Kaiser.

Have questions about coronavirus?

As the need grows, additional Utah businesses, institutions or investors are invited to donate funds for these meals. Info can be found at ReliefPacks.org and click on the Relief Packs Partners button to learn more.

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