Along with staying safe and healthy, many people are looking for ways to help others, whether it's weary health-care workers or their neighbors and loved ones. Here are some businesses that are helping out with free meals right now. If you know of any others who are doing something similar, send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kitchen (1317 20th St.): For the past few weeks, the teaching kitchen and event space has been offering weekday pick-up meals. It is also extending a call for comfort meals for those in need of a good dinner.
People can nominate someone, including themselves, for a meal for two (or a family) by emailing email@example.com. Be sure to put "Comfort Meal" in the subject line and explain why you nominated the person or family for meals.
Recent dinners have gone to a widow and mother who is needed to work at a shelter, a family of five with both parents have been furloughed and a grocery store clerk who in her free time is bringing groceries to neighbors, the elderly and others in need.
Previous meals have included roasted herbed chicken and potatoes with soup and dessert; and Mediterranean chicken with roasted veggies, Broadfork Acres salad, fresh-made pita bread, herbed yogurt sauce and baklava.
Even if you don't have someone to nominate, you can still help by donating money toward the cost of a comfort meal. The total cost of a meal for two is $48 but any contribution, no matter how small, is welcome via The Kitchen's Go Fund Me page (gofundme.com/f/the-kitchen-online-classes-bakersfield-ca), which is putting all funds toward these free meals.
The Mark (1623 19th St.): The downtown restaurant is doing a giving campaign dubbed #DinnerForYouAndWho. Diners purchase a dinner for two ($25) for curbside pickup for themselves then pay it forward by selecting someone who could use a meal, which The Mark staff will deliver to the recipient. Delivery is available for the gifted meal for two (hot or reheatable) up to 10 miles from the restaurant.
Meals include a choice of chicken Alfredo or pasta Bolognese with salad and a slice of Baked Bake Shop cake. Customers can also purchase additional specials for $20 if they're sending the meal to a family.
Customers must pre-order the meal deal by calling 231-6275 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
We Be Grubbin': The plant-based meal business continues to offer free and discounted meals in the community. Customers can opt to "pay it forward," paying $22 for a meal that includes the cost of half a meal. For those whom "the struggle is real," they can pay $8 for a meal. The business, run by Kim and Shante Jackson, also delivers a limited number of free meals for those in need.
Current plates are smokehouse (smoked brisk't) and Southern fried chick'n, which both come with vegan mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. There is a rotating third option that has included fried fysh, black bean enchiladas and orange chick'n. Family-style portions of brisk't, chick'n, collard greens, and mac and cheese are also available.
Order at webegrubbin.com. Call or text 662-1718 with questions.
Romano's Macaroni Grill (8850 Rosedale Highway): The Italian restaurant is allowing customers to add on a first responder meal ($10) to their orders through April 30. Diners can have an order of Mom's ricotta meatballs and spaghetti delivered to a firefighter, police officer, paramedic or hospital medical staffer. First responder meals are delivered on Wednesdays before 9 p.m.
Order at macaronigrill.com or call 588-2277. Note: If ordering online to have your order delivered to your address, you must make a separate transaction for the delivery of the first responder meal.