March 2020 was unlike anything anyone anywhere has ever experienced.

In Philadelphia, we at Catering By Design were in the midst of planning for the start of a very busy season with large events planned throughout the Delaware Valley. CBD’s event specialists were finalizing menus and party details with wedding couples and corporate planners. Our decor team was designing seasonal tablescapes and ordering flowers, lighting, and fabrics. Chefs were perfecting innovative new recipes and creating specialty menus for every dietary preference. There were new desserts and cake designs whipped up by the pastry chef. Our warehouse team were readying the inventory so that all the myriad of supplies needed by caterers to ensure the success of each event would be in house. Trucks were tuned up like an orchestra before a grand performance.

This all changed March 9th. The office was eerily quiet; the silence frequently broken by calls to cancel their upcoming events. Alerts dinged in everyone’s inbox proclaiming Cancelled or Postponed. As the days went on, over 60 of our events had been called off and we, like everyone else, had no way of knowing what shape the future would take.

By the following week, our kitchen, which would normally be bustling with chefs and staff, was reduced to the allowable 10 staff, strategically spaced out, gloved and focusing on a new mission. One of our wonderful clients, the Independence Foundation, asked if we would be interested to help feed those in need. Working with two amazing Philadelphia nonprofits, Broad Street Ministry and Project HOME ,  CBD volunteered to produce over 2200 meals weekly at cost. This was underwritten by The Independence Foundation whose mission is to support organizations that provide services to people who do not ordinarily have access to them (Independence Foundation, About Us).

It has been all gloved hands-on-deck to keep the burners on in the kitchen. We are so thankful for the opportunity to help our city that we love so much. For many people, since this will be their only meal each day, we are making sure the food is both healthy and substantial.

Here is an example of one of the lunches we provided, our hearty Mediterranean Chicken Bowl, packed with quinoa, barley, rice, freekah, bulgur, garlic greens, orange curry chicken, and topped with mint vinaigrette.

Stay tuned! We will continue to update our posts and let you know what we are up to. Be safe everyone!