Chef Joshua Kim quietly enjoys helping feed others in need of healthy food. The COVID-19 pandemic has given him an opportunity to do just that.
During the day, the Morrison Healthcare sous chef at Atrium Health in Pineville, N.C., is responsible for patient and retail food production. But after a full day’s work, Chef Kim loads his car with packaged food from Morrison and drives to a local Panera Bread restaurant to pick up bread and other baked goods for Dove’s Nest, a local women’s shelter. He also works with a local church that picks up the food at the hospital and distributes it for a local nonprofit organization that feeds low-income people at the church.
Chef Kim is a member of the American Culinary Federation. Deciding he wanted to help those in need during the COVID-19 crisis, the Chefs of Charlotte connected him with Feeding Charlotte. This nonprofit organization connects people with excess food to nonprofits that serve the food insecure and the city’s homeless population. It’s turned out to be a perfect fit.
“I admire their mission to feed the homeless and those in low-income areas,” he says. “I wanted to make a contribution to people in need, get enough food, and enough healthy food. At Morrison Healthcare, we believe in ‘The Power of Food’ and its ability to heal and maintain wellness.”
While Chef Kim has been serving doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel at the hospital with “to-go” food items at the cafe since mid-March, there was plenty of food leftover. Knowing many people needed food, Chef Kim began providing 30-40 loaves of bread and two-three dozen bagels, muffins, Danish rolls, and other baked goods each week to Thrift United Methodist Church in North Charlotte.
The donations have helped serve more people with more food in the Charlotte community.
“I’m told the families look forward every week to receiving their bread, mostly because it’s a primary source of nourishment,” says Chef Kim.
The Rev. Charles DiRico says the donations organized by Chef Kim have enabled him to increase the number of people it helps from 75 to 100 each week while also doubling the amount of food it provides. The church already provides one hot meal to the group, but the donation of bread and baked goods enables each family to take a meal home after eating at the church. Additionally, the donated food has helped keep the onsite food pantry stocked to serve about two weeks’ worth of groceries to 10 families per week.