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Richmond Supper Club Creates A Community First Project To Distribute Meals To People And Families In

Before COVID-19, The Underground Kitchen (UGK) was a "roving" experiential dinner series - throwing lavish seven-course, wine-paired dinner parties all around the country. On March 9, 2020, they made the difficult decision to shutter down business in response to the quickly spreading virus.

UGK went from roaming the country to roaming around the house. It was tough. They missed their cities, their chefs, and their people. They missed bringing good food to the table and watching it work its magic. They knew how lucky they were to be safe at home but, like many, they believed they should be doing something to help others in this terrible time.

One morning Micheal Sparks, Kate Houck’s business partner, called her and said, “I know exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to take care of our community.” They pooled their savings, contacted their network of chefs, farmers, and local partners and started making soup and bread. UGK staff volunteered to help them deliver meals to people in serious need of healthy, daily food right here in Richmond.

The UGK Community First project was underway.

They made their first deliveries on March 23rd and distributed 175 soup meals. As of this week, they will have delivered close to 50,000 meals over the last four months to food insecure communities around the Metro Richmond region who have become even more isolated by the ongoing crisis.

UGK has been incredibly fortunate to partner with several local Episcopal Churches as well as the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and now have several commercial grade church kitchens out of which they are making meals. In addition, they now have 100 plus volunteers dedicating their time to helping package and deliver meals throughout the community. They are seeing food work its magic again.

As of April 30th, they officially established UGK Community First as a 501(c)(3) organization in Virginia through which they will continue to respond until the COVID crisis is resolved. However, their eyes have been opened to the deep need for nutritious, non-processed, homemade meals that runs through the Richmond community even in the best of times and feel the calling to continue to do what they can to remedy that. So, from now on, this endeavor will always be a part of what UGK does, no matter where the future takes them.

The community can support UGK Community First in several ways:

1. By volunteering to help them package and deliver meals.

2. By donating to UGK Community First

3. Through in-kind donations to UGK Community First (packaging materials, produce, etc)

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