When 4P Foods, a Washington, a D.C.-based farm-to-table food delivery service buys Chesapeake Bay blue catfish, it provides more than just a satisfying meal for its members; it also provides a meal for those who need it most. Tom McDougall, founder of 4P Foods, regularly purchases Wide Net Project blue catfish for 4P members. "It tastes darn good," he says, adding “local food procured from awesome people usually does." With the proceeds from this purchase, the Wide Net Project is able to donate fish to Mckenna’s Wagon, a dinner service program run by Martha’s Table. "[The donation] is a great treat because it is very rare that we serve fish due to the number of meals we serve and the cost of fish," said Hannah Hall, Martha’s Table’s Food Procurement and Knowledge Manager.
Typically proteins, especially fish, are out of budget for hunger-relief organizations. Martha's Table buys whole ingredients in order to prepare healthy meals from scratch, and meals can become quite costly, says Hall. With the donated catfish, Hall can stretch her food budget to cover additional services. “We make 300 meals a night, and donations such as this fish allows us to allot the money that would have been spent on protein to something else, maybe produce or supplies to serve the meal,” added Afiya Howell, MT's Deputy Director of Prepared Foods. Martha's Table's kitchen staff cooked up the catfish a couple of weeks ago for dinner. Hall shared that "the community truly enjoyed the donation. We seasoned, battered, and fried the fish, then placed it on whole-wheat buns. The best fish sandwich in town."
This community connection propels McDougall forward in achieving his business's mission, as well. “I buy this fish because it represents the kind of food system we want to help strengthen and build.” Through fish, WNP is supporting and creating links among for-profit businesses, non-profit community organizations, and consumers across the region (4P members and Martha’s Table clients alike). It's a fish with impact.
This post was written by Haley Baron, WNP's go-to for outreach and communications.