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Volunteers, with help of pros, cook up plan to feed needy in Las Vegas

Updated July 24, 2020 - 8:19 am

Normally, they meet at The Writer’s Block downtown to talk about cookbooks and prepare recipes from them, but the realities of the coronavirus pandemic put an end to those friendly gatherings. So the Please Send Noodles group is doing some sending of its own, by feeding 100 people Saturday in downtown Las Vegas.

“There’s so much need in the community, so we decided to cook for people who need it,” said Kim Foster, the lead organizer of the group behind the 100 Dinners project. “A member had the idea to do it at the end of the month,” when money may be especially tight.

The eight volunteers are cooking in their homes. That doesn’t violate any health regulations because they’re not charging, but they’re not throwing caution to the wind, thanks to advice from chef and consultant Luke Palladino and Main Street Provisions owner Kim Owens.

“We’re following restaurant-quality standards for hygiene,” Foster said. “We’ve gotten a real culinary education as home cooks” from Palladino. Owens will be the point person when the food is boxed up and distributed to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.

“It’s really great to have professionals working with us,” Foster said.

It’s also great to have help from local companies, such as the 100 pounds of meat being donated by Black Box Meats, plus donations from The Writer’s Block, Hard Hat Lounge and members of Please Send Noodles.

Foster and Palladino will cook the pulled pork, and 20 vegan pulled jackfruit dinners also will be available on request. The other members are preparing side dishes of jicama slaw, arroz negro and warm tortillas.

Foster said the emphasis is on families.

“We feel like a lot of families sort of fall through the cracks,” she said.

With donations of gift cards, she will also stock the Little Free Pantry at 1041 Sweeney Ave. to provide families with other items.

Those in need of meals can text 917-903-1344 with their name and number of meals desired, with a maximum of six. They will be given an address in downtown Las Vegas and a pickup time.

Donations of money, which will be turned into grocery store cards for the cooks, can be made via Paypal to Donna Wilburn at donna.wilburn65@gmail.com.

Businesses interested in donating grocery items including meat and produce can email kim@fosterentertainment.net.

Foster said the group hopes to repeat the event monthly.

“We’re throwing the first one (together) really quick,” she said, “and we’ll figure it out as we go along.”

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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