There are plenty of options out there.

By Tim Nelson
April 23, 2020
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Credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/Getty Images

Times are hard, and medical workers on the front lines of this crisis need a lot of things: personal protective equipment, hazard pay, and help from people who make the wise choice to stay home.

One more thing they need? Food, just like everyone else. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to get sustenance and/or caffeine to frontline workers, at no cost to them. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the chains and organizations helping heroes get what they need, whether through direct deals or with donation help from the general public.

Chipotle
Between April 21 and 26, Chipotle is letting any one who orders a burrito online or through the app donate one to a medical worker. You just have to say that your customer name is “4HEROES” and they’ll make it happen. They’re also donating 10 percent of gift card purchases to Direct Relief, which helps donate medical supplies to those who need them.

Starbucks
Starbucks is giving out free hot or iced tall coffees to first responders, including police officers and firefighters, in addition to pretty much anyone who works at a hospital. That offer runs through May 3.

Sweetgreen
Sophisticated salad chain Sweetgreen has set up an Impact Outpost Fund in partnership with José Andrés and World Central Kitchen. The nonprofit effort aims to donate a total of 100,000 meals to “feed the frontline” which includes hospitals as well as schools, senior centers, and other vulnerable community members.

Dunkin’
Through its Coffee Break program, you can sign up to donate a Dunkin’ gift card to a medical worker or first responder you know. For every card purchased, Dunkin’ will donate $21 to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s Covid-19 relief fund.

Feed the Frontlines
If you want to directly contribute to a fund that gets food to New York’s medical personnel, Feed the Frontlines is a great option that helps support the city’s struggling local restaurants. You can also make a donation to similar efforts in Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Off Their Plate
Off Their Plate is a grassroots movement spearheaded by restaurateurs that connects healthcare workers with restaurant meals, helping to keep struggling businesses in operation while feeding those on the frontlines— definitely a win-win right now. Currently, they’re up and running in Boston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, and Philadelphia. You can make a donation here.

McDonald’s
From April 22 through May 5, McDonald’s will be giving out Happy Meal-style “Thank You Meals” to healthcare workers and first responders. The meal includes a choice of sandwich, drink, a side of fries (or hash brown at breakfast time).

Krispy Kreme
On every Monday through the end of May, Krispy Kreme will let healthcare workers pick up as many dozen original glazed doughnuts as they need. All one has to do is show a badge or hospital ID when picking up a drive-thru order.

&Pizza
Members of the general public can help donate to &Pizza’s Hero Kitchen, which connects healthcare workers with free pizza. You can order a “hero pie” for a hospital online or by texting “#Feedthem” to 200-03.