Coronavirus Help: NYC chef feeds healthcare workers with Buy a Bowl program

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In this edition of Neighborhood Eats, we're looking at a restaurateur who is connecting with his community during the coronavirus pandemic.

When JJ Johnson opened Fieldtrip, he did so to offer a healthy option in his neighborhood. But now, his focus has shifted to healthcare workers.

"I stayed open because if I were to close the doors, I knew I'd never come back," he said.

And he didn't want to disappoint his neighborhood, his patrons and his staff. So while other restaurants have shuttered, he's keeping Feldtrip open.

His menu is designed around bowls that feature rice like Carolina gold, Texas brown or jollof basmati. Then there are the proteins, from brisket to salmon, veggies, and of course, sauces -- curry, piri piri, and BBQ, to name a few.

Johnson's wife is a nurse, and at first, he sent his bowls to her hospital. Then, to another.

"I took it to Twitter, and I said, 'Hey, I just donated 40 bowls to Harlem Hospital,' and people started calling and responding and saying, I'll match you, I'll double you."

The Buy a Bowl program has delivered 8,000 Fieldtrip bowls in three weeks to hospitals in Harlem and the Bronx. He is also sending 165 bowls three times a week to the non-profit Harlem Grown to feed kids, with the expense covered by donors.

These meals, plus his take out and delivery business, have allowed him to retain eight of his 10 staffers.

I's $10 to buy a bowl, and you can also order pick up or delivery Monday through Saturday.

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