[Tallahassee, Fla] As Florida’s capital city braced for Hurricane Michael, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and its members worked to organize relief for the first responders who will spend the next several days ensuring the Tallahassee community is safe. Understanding food would be a need in the days immediately after the storm for the hundreds of law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical services teams as well as the staff of the local Emergency Operations Center, FRLA staff began work on Monday to help meet that need. Regional Director Nick Lowe placed calls to local restaurants, asking who might have the ability and capacity to help. Eight restaurants stepped up to prepare 3,200 meals on Thursday and Friday.
“One of the best qualities of those in the hospitality industry is their commitment to service, and this effort is a prime example of that,” said Carol Dover, CEO/President of FRLA. “Hurricane Michael was an incredibly powerful storm that caused significant damage across Florida’s Panhandle, and the first days after such an event require long hours and hard work from the men and women who keep our communities safe. Providing them with good meals was the least we could do to say thank you.”
Bella Bella, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Salad Chick, Dreamland Barbeque, Jacob’s on the Plaza, Krispy Kreme, Wahoo Seafood Grill and Wille Jewell’s Barbeque prepared and packaged hundreds of meals for the first responders – all while continuing to serve large crowds of residents who were looking for a good meal and air conditioning. FRLA staff and members worked together to coordinate pick-up and delivery of the meals throughout Leon County.
Members even worked to provide food for employees of a Wal-Mart on the north side of Tallahassee, who wanted to open the store to provide help to locals needing post-storm supplies.
As the trade association for the state’s largest industry, FRLA is invested in expediting disaster relief in order to get member businesses back up and running after storms and other catastrophes. In addition to providing food for first responders, FRLA also has staff members working in the State Emergency Operations Center in conjunction with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. These staff members help coordinate food and lodging needs for public and private entities across the impacted area. The organization has also spearheaded fundraising events like this one.