If it seems we’ve had a lot to say about The LEE Initiative during the cataclysmic COVID-19 pandemic year of 2020, it’s only because the The LEE Initiative keeps doing something about it.

First came the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, followed by the Restaurant Reboot Relief Program, and with several smaller efforts filling the gaps.

Family Meal, a program in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Schools, is The LEE Initiative’s newest partnership. It was detailed in an information release yesterday, which follows, verbatim.

The LEE Initiative announces its newest relief effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the hardships it has caused for families. Family Meal is a partnership between The LEE Initiative, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), Louisville Metro, Churchill Downs, Audi, and Humana, and will feed families participating in the JCPS meal distribution program.

“Reports are indicating that roughly 8 million Americans are slipping into poverty due to this crisis. We hope the entire city will join us in proving that Louisville can be a truly compassionate city and that we can create innovative solutions to the hunger issues that have become so rampant,” says Chef Edward Lee, co-founder and director of programming for The LEE Initiative. “This program is more than just feeding families; it is helping families avoid facing poverty.”

The LEE Initiative will hire 50 cooks who have been out of work due to the pandemic. These cooks will use the Churchill Downs kitchen to prepare 8000 boxed meals a week, with each box feeding a family of four. Says Churchill Downs Executive Chef David Danielson, “We love working with The LEE Initiative to take the stigma out of getting a free meal and making sure families have a high-quality chef-prepared meal to feed the entire family.”

All meals will come frozen with instructions to reheat in the oven or microwave. JCPS will make meals available once a week at each meal site. Meals will be distributed at some JCPS sites on Tuesdays and the remaining sites on Thursdays.

“While JCPS has distributed 3.4 million breakfast and lunch meals to children since our school buildings were shuttered in March, we haven’t been able to provide dinners for entire families who need them” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “Now we can, through this innovative partnership championed by The LEE Initiative.”

For more information on this and other relief efforts, visit www.leeinitiative.org.