Last night, I got a call to action from my friend Robin Plotkin. She sent me this message at 8:12 PM. While I don’t work for a restaurant, I do work for a company that supports the restaurant industry and I immediately started to think of people who could help and respond.

I knew that sending a message to friends at 8:30 at night asking for lunch donations the very next day was a hard ask. I quickly copied and pasted Robin’s message and sent to 47 people who are leaders in our industry who I knew could make it happen or would know the right person to ask.

What transpired was fast and furious. As my father, who is an industry vet, always says, “You want something done fast and right, ask a restaurant operator.” Well, that saying proved right. Within 30 minutes, we had an outpouring of support and commitment from several restaurant companies saying they would deliver and be there for lunch the next day. I was blown away by how fast it took to donate literally thousands of dollars of food to feed 1,000 officers in such a short amount of time.

I sat on the couch in my home with my phone in my hand and watched message after message come through offering help, and I cried tears of joy.

This last week has been a tough one for our world, for our country and for our city of Dallas. We struggle to understand, and we struggle to understand how we can help. I was in Austin last weekend to attend my first board meeting for the Texas Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and had a chance to spend some time with Steve DeShazo, director at El Centro College where the shooting went down. He was spent, exhausted physically and emotionally. He had spent the last three days trying to make sense of a tragedy. He went into “go mode” the best way he knew how – by feeding people.

Last night was a chance to take action. It was a clear way to help by doing something that we in the restaurant industry do best – feed people. We are not public servants, school teachers or nurses. BUT, what we can do for our communities is feed. We serve our communities in ways that only we can do and that in itself is a way we make things better, make our communities strong and bring all of us together, no matter what side you are on. We can all share a meal together.

I have personally struggled with how to help. Between talking with friends, donating to causes and raising awareness, it all has felt a little empty and “not enough” this last week. How do I really make change? I think my question was answered last night. Change happens when we get to the core of what we all really want and need as humans – to be fed. We need to feed our souls with good and we need to feed our communities with acts of kindness. When paralyzed with what to do next, we need to keep on taking care of ourselves and our family, friends and community. That will make the difference we all need. Servant hearts and minds and lots of meals will help us all heal.

Thank you to all the leaders last night and this week who have fed me and to our community.

This includes:
• Steve DeShazo
• Robin Plotkin
• Chili’s
• El Fenix
• Hail Merry
• Le Duff
• CiCi’s Pizza
• Maggiano’s
• Raising Cane’s
• Which Wich
• Fish City Grill & Half Shells
• On the Border
• Corner Bakery
• The Texas Restaurant Association Educational Foundation board
• Sarah Atkinson-Higgins
• Sheryl Coyne-Batson
• Wally and Joni Doolin
• Sarah Palisi Chapin
• Kelli Valade
• Chris Ebbler
• Stephanie Robinson
• Kacy Oden
• Nancy Thomas
• Shane Womack
• Amanda Hite
• Brandon Hill
• Lisa Macabu
• JD Cummings
• Kathleen Buehler
• Frank Steed
• Ron Ruggless
• Jamie Griffin
• Celton Hayden
• Jackie Rodriguez
• Jill McFarland
• Adriana Scarcella
• Gje Wallace
• Eric Tucker
• Heidi and Darius Gilanfar
• Diana Hovey
• Jonathan Brewer
• Jennifer Swan
• Laura Linthicum
• Vickie Frisbie
• Tina Hebert
• John Drummond
• Cherie Neyrey
• Alyssa Prince
• My colleagues at Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K)
• Snappy Salads
• Asain Mint
• Campisi’s
• Hilton Hotel/SER Steakhouse
• Blue Mesa Grill
• Mi Cocina
• Lazy Dog Restaurants

And many more who donated their time, energy, money and food to make the world a better place.