2020 and 2021 have been difficult years for everyone. From wallets to health, uncertainty has been a constant in nearly everyone’s lives. With the holidays approaching, one rising cost is making many fear that their celebrations will be cut short this year: food prices. CELEB takes a look at how several different organizations in Washington DC are getting creative to try to help vulnerable people this holiday season. 

Operation Feed the Seniors

Thanksgiving

One population being hit hardest by the rising cost of food is seniors. They often have very limited incomes, and no way to make more money if they find themselves short in any given month. So with the holidays near and food prices higher than ever, what’s a senior got to do to get a good meal? Bring in the Marines!

Well, not just the Marines. During the holidays, service members often can’t fly home to see their families. With no one to celebrate with and many seniors also missing loved ones, it’s a match made in heaven. DC-area restaurant owner Mark Bucher has come up with the creative solution of having military volunteers deliver foods to seniors in need. This week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the service member volunteers getting involved in Operation Feed the Seniors will deliver warm meals to those in need. The food is coming from Bucher’s Medium Rare Arlington and Medium Rare Bethesda. It’s a wonderful opportunity for those missing family for a variety of reasons to come together to enjoy the holiday, and make sure that the people who need food the most are getting treated with care and dignity. 

Medium Rare Turkey Fry

Thanksgiving

But that’s not all Bucher has come up with to help those in need. For the last 14 years, Medium Rare Restaurants has been dedicated to bringing delicious food to area residents that is also safe. Every year, people fire up the old fryer and try to fry their turkeys. But it doesn’t always go well. Each Thanksgiving, an average of 1,700 house fires are started. Fryers take the lion’s share of the blame for those fires, causing hundreds of injuries and nearly $10 million in property loss since 1998. 

It’s hard to beat that fried turkey taste though, so what can you do if you want the flavor but none of the fire? Medium Rare has you covered. This year’s Medium Rare’s 14th Annual Free Turkey Fry will cook over a half ton of turkeys – over 600lbs. Distribution will happen at Medium Rare Cleveland Park. Bucher wanted people to be able to enjoy the taste of turkey without the risk, and the Turkey Fry is the perfect solution for everyone. Plus, there are people who don’t have the space or appliances to prepare a turkey and this allows them to participate in the holiday with their very own bird. 

$10,000 Turkeys?

It’s not just DC-area residents who are struggling to make ends meet this holiday. All across the country, inflation is rising and food costs have skyrocketed. Food pantries and charity organizations that supply necessary items have seen a surge in people seeking aid all across the country, and the flood of people is increasing. Some food pantry owners are biting the bullet and digging deeply into their own pockets to make up shortfalls, while others are pleading with city and state leaders for help.

In DC, Medium Rare is partnering with Feed the Fridge to deliver over 100,000 meals this year. Feed the Fridge was created by Bucher – if you haven’t noticed by now, he’s a kind-hearted and thoughtful person determined to make a difference – to help those who need it most. KHOU 11 reports on Bucher’s thoughts about the projects his restaurants and Feed the Fridge are engaging in; “‘We realized at the beginning of COVID, the area’s seniors were in trouble,’ said Bucher. ‘They don’t have the technology to order any food, often isolated, and hungry. We learned more and more as we went through the past 18 months bringing them food, bringing them meals, that they’re stuck. They don’t go out, they don’t get their food at the giveaway sites. They don’t order in the apps or delivery food, they’re home alone, because they’re scared.”

He adds, “It’s a crazy time, we’ve just spent the last 20 months in a really hard place as a society. And you see the news, you read the papers now and people that have means are freaking out because turkeys are expensive or there’s scarcity. There are people in our society that live with this every day. This is our wake up call.”

Bucher’s determination to get food where its needed is an example for many people to follow. The DC area is rising to the challenges, and they will continue to do so as the holidays pass. With inflation still rising and uncertainty as to when relief can be expected, their job will be massive and intimidating. However, Bucher seems ready to make a difference despite the odds.