Arlington, VA

(Updated at 5 p.m.) While Arlington teachers put together grocery gift cards for low-income families and nonprofits band together to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus, several local restaurateurs and the nonprofit Real Food for Kids are working to provide meals to families hit by the pandemic.

Chef David Guas, the owner of Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) in Courthouse, has partnered with Real Food for Kids — a nonprofit that aims to promote healthy diets for children — to provide free, plant-based meals for Arlington children and their families.

Starting Tuesday, Guas committed to serving free lunches from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. during weekdays while Arlington Public Schools are closed, Real Food for Kids said in an email. This week the featured meal is New Orleans-style red beans and rice. Non-profit Fruitful Planet, associated with regional juice chain South Block, is also offering fresh fruit to accompany the meals.

“This is a complement to Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to serve at-risk families who are used to relying on the school lunch program,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “Many of these parents’ jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus, making a bad situation worse.”

Donations to help sustain the program can be made online. Other local organizations like the Arlington Food Assistance Center are also seeking assistance to provide food for those in need.

Separately, Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta (5555 Lee Highway) is also offering free cheese pizzas and fresh salads to those most affected by the school closings and job cutbacks, starting tonight from 5-7 p.m. According to a press release, staff will deliver the food to the hood of cars to limit personal contact and maintain social distancing.

Medium Rare, meanwhile, has been delivering free meals to vulnerable seniors in the D.C. area since last week. The steak frites restaurant has a location in Virginia Square.

Even while hurting financially themselves, other restaurants throughout the region have been putting together specials and free meals to help families that frequently rely on school lunches have access to food during the pandemic.

Photo courtesy Real Food for Kids

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