To help out during the coronavirus epidemic, the retail and tech giant Amazon has paid $200,000 to a local queer eatery, Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, to deliver 10,000 free meals to police and first responders in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.
Last week, Freddie’s delivered over 400 such meals with the assistance of three nearby restaurants all located on the 23rd Street ‘restaurant row’ of Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood.
During the last two weeks in May, the restaurant will donate its meals to Cooperative for a Hunger-Free Arlington, a local group that will deliver the food to “neighbors in immediate need.”
While the move could be a way for Amazon to endear itself to local businesses, citizens, and police as the company establishes its new second headquarters in Crystal City, the partnership with Freddie’s has helped the eatery bring back most of the employees it furloughed after Virginia’s governor shut down all statewide dine-in restaurants to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Now, the restaurant’s kitchen staff is preparing as many as 400 meals a day.
“For lunch, we’re doing things like turkey sandwiches, ham sandwiches,” Freddie’s manager Tony Rivenbark told the Washington Blade. “At dinner time we’re doing things like chicken pesto fettuccine, meat lasagna, and meatloaf. And we’re doing a percentage of those meals that are vegetarian.”
Brian Huseman, vice president for Amazon Public Policy said, “We are proud to work alongside Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a beloved local restaurant in our new neighborhood, to ensure that we’re thanking our neighbors who are keeping us safe, and caring for our neighbors who need extra support right now with hearty meals throughout May.”
Freddie’s owner Freddie Lutz, who also serves on the Executive Committee of the board of the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID), said the BID donated cartons of water and environmentally friendly carryout containers to help make the meals more portable.