When the coronavirus pandemic first gripped Philadelphia and the rest of the nation, it had a ripple effect on restaurants and individuals alike.
Husband-and-wife restaurateurs Benjamin Miller and Cristina Martinez, owners of famed restaurant South Philly Barbacoa, adapted quickly to deliver takeout service, but they had to let go of some staff members, and the picture wasn’t too rosy for their friends and community members, either. Some couldn’t access federal stimulus payments because of their undocumented status.
The pair knew they had to act.
“It was definitely devastating and heartbreaking to see a lot of restaurants go and to see our friends suffering, and that’s how our People’s Kitchen project began — through recognizing there’s a big need out there, people are hungry and they need work, too,” Miller said.
In Philadelphia, 21% of the population experiences food insecurity, compared with the national average of 12.9%, according to the