We need to be talking more about how the Bay Area’s premier basketball glam couple have teamed up with chef José Andrés to serve more than 15 million free meals to families in need since COVID-19 hit.
We are very big fans of the off-court charitable exploits of Steph and Ayesha Curry (though admittedly, bigger fans of Riley Curry). So we thought it was awfully cool last April when the Chronicle reported that the Currys foundation Eat.Learn.Play. was serving 300,000 meals a week to East Bay families in need, and had hit the million-meal milestone. So now, nearly a year later, we had to wonder… are they still doing that?
Together, we were able to place community at the heart of our work and serve well over 15 million meals.— Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation (@eatlearnplay) January 6, 2021
Here are some of #EatLearnPlay’s favorite moments from 2020. Comment down below with your favorite #EatLearnPlay moment! pic.twitter.com/AkI2qmM4cz
Oh, are they still doing that. The foundation has now served “well over 15 million meals” by their own telling. The foundation is one of those programs that essentially pays struggling restaurants or food-adjacent businesses to prepare free meals for families and the underemployed, and according to their recently released 2020 fourth quarter update, the program has “$20 million to put back into the local economy,” and led to the rehiring of more than 900 Oakland restaurant workers.
Can this story of Bay Area basketball royalty feeding millions of hungry people during a pandemic possibly get any more squee and uplifting? Add a dash of johnny-on-the-spot hero chef José Andrés, and yes it can. Chef Andrés’ World Central Kitchen received a sizable grant from the Currys’ foundation to procure meals from “more than 130 Oakland restaurants.”
“It’s like we’re feeding the restaurants to make sure they can feed the community.” says World Central Kitchen’s restaurants operations lead Anna Shova. “Restaurant culture has changed. Popular Michelin star restaurants have now asked ‘What else can I do for the community?’ Now, it’s less about being rewarded and more about being closer to the community. People are opening up their eyes.”
The Currys no longer live in the East Bay (they’re in Atherton now), but it’s great to see them still so involved with the Oakland community. And on that note, Hoodline reported last month Ayesha Curry opened a Sweet July retail store and cafe in Oakland’s Uptown, which bears the name of a lifestyle magazine she founded.
Image: LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: NBA player Steph Curry (R) and Ayesha Curry attend The 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)