Local restaurant donates meals to help hospital workers

SEATTLE — Two of the hardest-hit groups in the coronavirus pandemic are hospital staff and restaurant workers. One is working nonstop; one isn't working at all.

Earlier this week, one Seattle restaurant decided to do something about that. Katherine Anderson is the owner of The London Plane in Pioneer Square, and after getting a call from a friend who works at the Unversity of Washington Medical Center, she decided to help.

“She called and said, ‘We’d like some food,.’ I was thinking sure, 100 meals. She said, ‘How about 3,000!’ Thankfully, we settled somewhere in the middle, 1,600, so we said, ’We’ll get it done,'” Anderson told KIRO7.

Suddenly her restaurant team, just laid off, was back on the job, making meals for hospital personnel.

And the need was immense. On Wednesday night, all 800 meals the restaurant delivered were gone in 10 minutes.

“They get lost in the shuffle,” said Anderson’s restaurant partner, Yusi Saito. “They give and they give, and we just wanted to recognize that and turn a negative into a positive and bring a measure of light to the world.”

With contributions from her vendors and other restaurants, The London Plane is delivering 800 meals at 11 a.m. and 800 more at 11 p.m. It’s costing Anderson and her investors $10,000 a day, and they’ll do this from Wednesday to Wednesday for eight full days, paying former employees and other restaurant workers who want to help. They spend that money not knowing if their own restaurant will even survive the crisis.

"We had some tough times early on, back in 2019 and 2018, but we had some optimism about the spring and summer, so it’s crushing, right? But we have 3,000 new friends at the (UW) hospitals. We’re hoping to make it through, not knowing what it will look like when this is over,” said Anderson.

And speaking of that reaction over at UW: “We’re getting emails saying nurses were crying when the meals were delivered, and then we cry! It’s a real love fest, but helping them feels really good.”

Anderson says in her dream world, this would, all snowball, with other restaurants – if they can -- helping first responders and hospital workers, those who need it the most. The London Plane has set up a gofundme.com page that has raised more than $25,000 to continue its service.