LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Over the last week, Elizabeth Blau and her husband have had to lay off more than 90% of their staff and close all but one of their restaurants.
"What that means to us is that all of our families are at risk and our community's at risk," Blau said, who owns Honey Salt and several other restaurants.
Blau said while the shock of the last week has been overwhelming, her team has stepped up in a major way -- making and assembling hundreds of meals for the most at risk. This is all part of a new program called Delivering with Dignity -- a partnership between the county (led by commissioner Marliyn Kirkpatrick), the tech company Copia, foundations like the Moonridge Foundation and the Elaine Wynn Family Foundation, and the nonprofit Foster Kinship, which identifies some of the most vulnerable people.
"We are not in the hospitality industry for nothing," she said. "We come together even when our nearest and dearest are at risk. There's still other people in the community that are at greater risk."
Blau said the some 800 meals are not "FEMA meals" or simple sandwiches -- they're created and prepared by the chefs at Honey Salt. On the menu for the first day of the program was paella and pasta.
Volunteers packed their cars with meals for recipients like Gwen Bartholomew, who's known as Grandma Gwen. She's 72 years old and has raised 6 grandchildren (with 3 teenagers still in the house). She said since coronavirus became an issue a month ago, she hasn't left the house, other than to go to the doctor.
"I've had a couple heart attacks. I have four stints. I have diabetes. I have arthritis. I have high blood pressure. A little bit of everything," she said, with a laugh.
Despite being cooped up in the house, Grandma Gwen is keeping spirits light. She said she's grateful for the delivery and can't wait to dive in.
"I'm so hungry. I'm ready," she said.
The first round of deliveries were made Monday, with hundreds more set to be delivered Tuesday. Everyone involved in this program hopes to expand it -- other restaurants in the city have already expressed interest in being part of it. Right now, they need more food, volunteers and of course funding. The more money, the more impact this program can have. Donations can be made to the Moonridge Foundation.