"'Community first' has always been our mantra, so the pandemic gave us the opportunity to amplify that in a new way."

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 15, 2021
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During the coronavirus pandemic, countless Southern chefs have stepped up to help people in incredible and impactful ways — even in some cases as their own businesses barely stay afloat. From a Baltimore restaurateur raising nearly $500,000 for competitors struggling during the pandemic to Houston chef Chris Shepherd helping restaurant workers nationwide through his Southern Smoke nonprofit, there's been no shortage of inspiring examples from the Southern food community during this difficult chapter.

Now, we're turning our attention to another Houston chef making an amazing difference for people having a hard time right now: Chef Chris Williams of Lucille's Hospitality Group, who founded nonprofit Lucille's 1913 at the onset of the pandemic to feed those in need. Now, the chef and his team have reached an incredible milestone of some 200,000 meals to fill the bellies and warm the hearts of Houston area residents facing food insecurity.

"'Community first' has always been our mantra, so the pandemic gave us the opportunity to amplify that in a new way. My great-grandmother, Lucille B. Smith, founded her catering business with this goal in mind, so we just followed her playbook — invest in your community, and they'll reciprocate," Williams shared with Southern Living. "We started Lucille's 1913 just trying to provide nourishment for the people that paved the way for us — our elders in these low-income communities. A lot of them rely on subsidized living, but most of these places don't have kitchens; then they had no access to their families because COVID built up this impenetrable wall. So we started donating hot meals to these communities every day, and that grew into our current operation, which has distributed more than 200,000 meals to Houstonians in need."

If you'd like to help Williams' efforts, you can make a donation online here, by speaking to Robertine on the phone at 832-710-0953, or mailing checks made out to "Lucille's 1913" to:

Lucille' s 1913

5512 LaBranch

Houston, Texas

77004

In the wake of these turbulent times, it's especially meaningful when we can celebrate Southerners bringing a bit of comfort and joy to their communities right now. We know your great-grandma Lucille is smiling down on you, chef.