The Atlanta-based organization is a win-win for restaurant owners and healthcare providers.
Grey Cohen of The Meal Bridge
Credit: Courtesy of Grey Cohen

Grey Cohen thought she would spend her spring playing lacrosse and studying for AP exams. But when coronavirus moved school online and ended her sports season, the 16-year-old found herself at the helm of The Meal Bridge instead. This platform connects donors with local restaurants to provide free meals for area health care workers. “My mom works at Emory University Hospital, and my uncle wanted to send food to the staff in a COVID-19 unit there,” says Cohen. “I thought, ‘That’s a great idea. What if we could send food to more units and get the community involved?’ ” That was on a Friday night in March. By the following Monday, with help from her design-savvy dad and her well-connected medical mom, The Meal Bridge was up and running.

What began as an Atlanta-focused campaign to support local restaurants and health care workers has since grown into a multicity initiative, including Seattle; Los Angeles; Athens, Georgia; and Washington, D.C. And thanks to generous supporters, they’ve donated more than 20,000 meals to hospital staffs in Atlanta alone. “As long as we have the community backing us and wanting to help out, we can make this last,” says Cohen. “I love being able to give back to these people. Even once COVID-19 ends, it’s not like the work of hospital staff will be any less important.”