Island friends form ’305feeds’ to help the area’s needy

What started out as a casual Zoom call between lifelong Key Biscayne friends has resulted in supporting 10 area restaurants and feeding people more than 1,300 meals.

The friends pulled this off in just a matter of weeks, and the operation shows no sign of slowing down.

305feeds” – founded by the group of five friends who wanted to help local restaurants and people in need – helps feed a community impacted by the shutdown of the economy, but it also supports local restaurants struggling to stay afloat.

Fortunate enough to be in a position to help, the friends gathered resources and contacts in order to make the connections needed so they could offer assistance.

Their motto is simple, yet effective: One donation, double the impact. The money donated to the project goes toward purchasing meals at restaurants, which is then given to area organizations – and people they serve – in need.

Those organizations include homeless shelters, women and children shelters and organizations focused on COVID response.

“During this time, there’s restaurants that are really struggling,” said Christian Crews, who founded 305feeds with Frank Tarafa, Herman Valero, Tony Gambirazio and Jed Royer. “If you see how thankful these restaurants are, it’s incredible.

“What we saw was restaurants, about 80 percent of all restaurants, had closed. The ones that were open were down to delivery and pickup. Not only are the restaurants closed, but the employees were out of work.”

Meals are purchased from neighborhood restaurants, independent franchises locally owned, coffee shops, bakeries, and neighborhood restaurants.

Crews learned of this concept through a friend of his doing something similar in San Antonio. Dubbed “In This Together,” the concept is the same: purchase from restaurants, feed those in need. The effort has resulted in thousands of dollars purchased in gift cards, with more than 300 cards distributed to nonprofits and medical facilities across that Texas city.

Crews said his group of friends have start-up experience, experience in restaurant work and also with a production company, all of which has helped ensure the Key Biscayne effort is successful.

Their initial talk on Zoom was in May. They started fundraising throughout June and launched their operation in July. In one month, they raised $10,000. In another month, $12,000 was raised.

“It looks like it has legs,” Crews said, adding that donations come from family, friends and corporations, “so we’ll continue doing this for as long as we have the legs.”

What their efforts in July and August have accomplished includes:

- Fed all the girls at Kristi House for one month

- Fed 25 homeless seniors from Chapman Partnership for one month

- Provided “Ice Cream Fridays” to Lotus House for one month – over 1,000

- Fed all families staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida for one month

- Provided 250 meals to the Miami Diaper Bank for struggling families

Gina Santibanez, duchess of development at Kristi House, said in a video on Instagram following a delivery day: “We just want to extend our deepest gratitude to 305feeds and to everybody that has donated to them.

“For the month of July, 305feeds sponsored all of the meals that were delivered to our girls … during this very stressful and challenging time. Over 180 meals have been delivered to them. It has allowed our girls to focus more on their healing, their education and their career planning.

“We couldn’t have done it without all of you. We are so honored that 305feeds chose us, and we are so grateful for everything that they have done for us and for the whole community.”

By the numbers:

  • 11.6: the percent of the South Florida population that is food insecure
  • 18.9: the percent of children in South Florida who are food insecure
  • 236,270: the number of children going to bed hungry
  • 3.43: in dollars and cents, the average cost of a meal in South Florida

305 Feeds estimates, by Aug. 31:

  • 1,340: number of meals delivered
  • $12,676: money spent on meals
  • 10: restaurants helped
  • 5: organizations helped

Want to help?

Visit them online here 

305 Feeds can also be found on Instagram.