When COVID-19 first hit the Pacific NW, we wanted to do something to support our region’s front line and essential workers. Our mission here at Burgerville is to make the Pacific Northwest the healthiest region on the planet, one bite at a time. So here was a chance to literally enact this by feeding people.  We quickly launched Burger Breaks – a way for our customers to “burger it forward” by donating NW Cheeseburgers, which we then match with two additional burgers. That’s a total of three burgers donated for all you “I don’t do math” folks. Customers also nominated organizations to receive burger breaks.  ­­­­­­­­­No surprise, our customers stepped up big-time. So far, we’ve delivered over 8,000 burgers to over 95 locations, from The Dalles to Corvallis, Hillsboro to St. Helens and we are still going strong. We’ve also become acutely aware of just how many people show up to care for us in ways that go beyond medical care. We’ve delivered to New Seasons grocery store workers, Safeway pharmacists, Sorrento Animal Hospital staff, Metro West ambulance drivers, Unity Center for Behavioral Health workers, NW Renal Clinic staff, and many, many more.

We share this not to toot our own horn -it’s just the right thing to do – but more to share what these Burger Breaks have given back to us. Practically speaking, we were able to reopen a central restaurant and bring back a number of furloughed employees to prepare and deliver food. Employees from every department make our food deliveries, from Stacey Chapman, our Director of Marketing, to COO Kati Reardon and CEO (and former pediatric ER nurse) Jill Taylor. Often mentioned as the highlight of their week, everyone speaks about the honor in meeting so many people who are putting their lives at risk in the service of the community.

More important though, is this: in this extraordinary and scary time for all of us, we have been given the opportunity to nourish our community. Gathering around food whether it’s a meal with loved ones or a quick break between shifts in a hospital staff room, has power to it. As food journalist Michael Pollan noted, “Nourish” … has a kind of literal and metaphorical sense to it. We literally nourish ourselves with food. But we nourish our spirit, we nourish our culture, we nourish our community.” (Nourishlife.org)

So, to everyone in the Burgerville community, from our employees to anyone who’s burger’d it forward through our Burger Breaks:  thank you for helping us nourish and be nourished. And to all first responders and essential workers: we see you, we thank you, we will never forget you.

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