'They serve us, now we serve them': Local organization delivers meals to those working front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

FOX 11 Los Angeles has teamed up with an organization that has stepped in to launch a new program called Responders First, which ensures first responders and emergency room heroes working in the Westwood area are being fed at no cost while fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friends of West L.A., (FOWLA) launched an initiative to supply personnel with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, and UCLA Ronald Regan ER doctors, nurses and staff. The community initiative simultaneously gives business to local restaurants.

“They serve us, now we serve them,” the organization said.

Twice a week, FOWLA delivers free meals to firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and EMTs. In addition, they deliver to UCLA doctors, nurses and staff three times a week: dinner on Tuesday and Thursday, and snack/dessert on Friday. Our LAPD and LAFD officers receive meals every day by going to the restaurants we are partnered with. As long as they have a uniform, they get a free meal courtesy of Responders First.

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The Responders First program is also part of FOX's $1 million donation to the City of Los Angeles Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund, which supports meals for the elderly, offers childcare to healthcare workers on the frontline of the crisis, and provides personal protection equipment to the city’s homeless population. FOX is pleased to provide much-needed assistance to Los Angeles and will look for opportunities to assist in other locations where we live and work.

The meals come from local restaurants, who also benefit. The purchase of discounted meals helps eateries avoid further layoffs while providing revenue.

The nonprofit neighborhood benefit organization has contributed to first responders, schools, libraries and parks through the years with the assistance of donations from members of the community.

FOW: LA sponsors the Dream Games in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which pairs youth basketball teams across Los Angeles with Westwood athletes. 

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However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organization will be unable to host Dream Games this year. The gym used for the project is currently being occupied by people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the mission to continue helping those in the community, FOWLA opted to dip into its reserve launch its Responders First Initiative.

To see a list of participating restaurants, visit RespondersFirst.LA/FOX11.

Responders First is scheduled through June 2. FOW: LA hopes to extend the deadline if funding is available.

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