The Nourish to Flourish Initiative
The Lightspark Foundation began the Nourish to Flourish Initiative (the “NFI”) in May of 2020 as a response to the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 on our community. As the pandemic exposed the most vulnerable of our citizens to new health risks as well as increased job, housing, and food insecurity, our business community was decimated by devastating loss of revenues, forcing downsizing, layoffs, and in many cases, permanent closures. To assist in alleviating the additional hardships to those individuals experiencing food insecurity and those businesses suffering from the near-collapse of the local restaurant industry, the NFI brought together restaurant, non-profit service provider, and funding partners, to create a program that would pay restaurants to prepare hot, fresh meals, which were then donated to at-risk individuals in the community.
Between May 2020 and December 2021, when the program ceased operations, the NFI provided 161,547 meals to individuals (primarily children) experiencing food insecurity, and paid $1,211,603 to local restaurants struggling to stay afloat through the pandemic. Over the course of the program, generous funding partners, including Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, the State of Utah, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, allowed the NFI to provide financial assistance to 13 local restaurants, and to provide meals to individuals serviced by 15 service provider organizations. The COVID-19 crisis has been so difficult for so many, but it has also provided additional opportunities to serve those around us, and the Lightspark Foundation is proud to have partnered with such amazing partners in working to assist members of our community through a difficult period.
To Local Restaurants
Few, if any, industries have been harder hit by the pandemic than the restaurant industry. It has culminated in not only lost profits and livelihoods for owners, but lost jobs for employees. The Nourish to Flourish Initiative provides restaurants with a consistent guaranteed demand for meals every day, week in week out.
Food insecurity impacts 11.5% of Utahns, or more than 350,000 people in our state. The Nourish to Flourish Initiative is designed to help address this by empowering nutritionally-conscious restaurants to provide fresh, healthy meals to buttress those staples currently being provided by existing providers.
By scaling the Nourish to Flourish Initiative, we can eliminate food insecurity in our community. And if we can do it in Salt Lake City, our success will be replicated by other communities across the country. Community funding, however, is a critical component of making this vision a reality.