Posted on October 16, 2017
Friends new and old! Today was incredible. We fed 1850 first responders and evacuees! We did not spend ONE dollar of donations, all food, product was donated!!!!! Target, Whole Foods, Petaluma Market, and volunteer donations (and some that I forgot, I am sure). THANK YOU!!
We fed the firefighters on the front lines of their shift change (I talked my way in, and now we are the regular. No one tells me "no" as those of you who know me well may know ;) ) We handed sandwiches directly to the firefighters on their shift change. They called in their handheld radios, and said "Meredith is here" and 250 Chicago style sausage/onion/pepper/giardinara sandwiches were gone in ten minutes. It's amazing. Their gratitude keeps me going strong. We hugged everyone, asked their names, thanked them, hung for a few minutes. Connection is key. I try to take different volunteers every day for drops, so that the volunteers understand and connect with what we are doing out there.
(Photo is me, Meredith Miller Elliott, with Dave from Chico, headed back out to the helicopter to drop water on the fire in Santa Rosa.)
Hundreds of sandwiches went out to tent cities around the county care of Tobe Sheldon and Dylan Sheldon. Donations came in from all over, and Tobe made sure our food was sent with warm clothes and hygiene items. Thank you so much!!
Dinner was for Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center, our daily dinner drop for the Chiefs of this whole effort.... roasted duck breasts with pomegranate and blackberry sauce, a delicious pickled slaw, and a roasted veg mix with feta, Bread Pudding and hundreds more sandwiches.
We then drove around Santa Rosa, and handed out food to displaced people, people volunteering (everyone needs to eat!), and we fed the Red Cross (small victories.)We shared a family meal at my house cooked by my amazing counterpart chef Doug E Fresh. Wine and champagne donated by volunteers.. Our team is incredible.
A wonderful new friend has donated a huge space with a professional kitchen less than a mile from the ranch, and the whole cooking and feeding operation is moved there already (professional kitchen!!) Now we can really get it going! We started Tuesday with me alone, and then one more person, and now 30 volunteers here today! Started out making 200 sandwiches, and today we fed 1850. Tomorrow we will feed over 5000!!! My crew is simply amazing. We are a group of friends and strangers to begin and now it feels like family. I cannot thank them all enough. They help me make this happen and my heart is full of love for them. We are doing something real and amazing, and all of them make it possible. I am bossy and they all put up with my perfectionist expectations and quality control rules.... truly wonderful people.
Here is our daily gratitude video....
Tomorrow (wait, I guess it is Monday already!) we will have a facebook page to organize volunteers and donations, and so much news about fundraisers around the county being held for us, the #sandwich angels. It looks like I will be doing some on camera interviews for California news organizations, and a national interview is in the works! Keep building our efforts!
Today, Monday, will be Michigan Monday! Our food is being donated by Michigan native Ted Wilson. James Kenneth Graham (Jimmy Doom) is flying out from Detroit to work with us all week, and I am looking to my original home state to mobilize and get us some big donations.Meanwhile. I should sleep a few hours. Thank you to the hundreds of people donating, volunteering, driving, buying my juices, walking my dog, and on it goes. I love you all. We did good today.
Please keep donating and reposting. Find me on facebook or message me if you can donate clothing or other goods, as we are accepting those too. Evacuees are also asking for visa/mastercard/Amex gift cards, as well as amazon or target gift cards. We are in need of blankets, warm clothing for men, women, and children. And all sorts of hygiene items. Think of whatever you would miss if you lost everything in your house. And then send that to us to get to the tent cities. Send care of me to 574 Fair Ave, Petaluma, CA. We will sort and distribute to those in need. Thank you so much.
Sending love and light and gratitude,
Meredith Miller Elliott