Local restaurants team with Moonridge Group, United Way to deliver meals to high-risk seniors and families

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Wade Vandervort

Chef Todd Harrington puts complimentary cookies in to-go orders at Honey Salt on March 19. The Summerlin-area restaurant has become the hub of the new Delivering With Dignity program.

Wed, Apr 1, 2020 (2 a.m.)

The Moonridge Group is emblematic of the giving spirit and innovative energy that has come to define Southern Nevada in times of crisis. Founded in 2011, the consulting organization’s mission is to strategically align philanthropists with nonprofit partners, making crucial connections that serve to strengthen the community.

In the rapidly escalating current crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, Moonridge is acting quickly to make sure the most exposed and unguarded people in the Las Vegas Valley are taken care of.

Delivering With Dignity unites the efforts of local restaurants and the United Way of Southern Nevada to create high-quality meals and deliver them to the homes of local seniors and other highly vulnerable families, keeping them at home and reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Donations for this new program can be made online now at moonridgefoundation.org.

Moonridge Group Philanthropy Advisors CEO and Principal Julie Murray said Delivering With Dignity was created as a response to Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick’s recent request to focus on at-risk seniors.

“She was worried that in this global pandemic, the most vulnerable and frail might fall through the cracks, those who couldn’t get out to receive food from Three Square [food bank],” Murray said. “She asked, can you devise something overnight to ensure no one gets left behind?”

The Summerlin-area restaurant Honey Salt became a sort of command center for the program, with its staff — some of whom would have been or already have been furloughed during the statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses — cooking and preparing meals at a fraction of standard cost. Other restaurants have joined the cause while “being compensated for pennies on the dollar compared to what they normally charge,” Murray said. “It’s a combination of philanthropy and business, in-kind donations and other charitable dollars. Our funders are first and foremost helping those most vulnerable [families] but also helping put culinary employees back to work, [even though] they are charging a fraction of what they normally charge.”

The service is intended for people who are most at risk, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines for contracting coronavirus if they leave their homes, including the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and their family members living in the same household. To learn about qualifying for meals or for other information about Delivering With Dignity, contact the United Way of Southern Nevada at 702-892-2300 or [email protected]

Murray, Moonridge Group board member Punam Mather and Honey Salt owner Elizabeth Blau have been spearheading the local meal delivery effort, and similar efforts are mobilizing in New York City and other metropolitan areas across the country, Murray said. Her organization is working on several other initiatives related to the pandemic and communicating daily with the United Way and the Governor’s subcommittee on virus response.

“The one tiny silver lining about this awful epidemic is how people are coming together in ways we’ve never seen,” she said. “We came together in a collaborative way after One October and there’s even more energy in this time of disaster.”

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