Days before it was announced that all Nantucket Public Schools would be closed, Patrick Ridge took to social media and pledged that his restaurant Island Kitchen would ensure that no child went hungry. He recognized the imminent need of thousands of island kids who depend on school breakfast and lunch each day. “This was right in our wheelhouse,” Ridge recalls thinking. “This is one very small subset of the island’s population that was going to need help and we had the best team and the best infrastructure to do that.”
When the schools closed a few days later, Linda Peterson, who runs the school food program, reached out to Ridge for assistance. “Linda is really the unsung hero in all this,” Ridge says. “She immediately tasked out what she needed and stepped right into a leadership role.” Peterson had the food, but she needed help cooking and distributing the meals. Ridge sent a team of Island Kitchen chefs to help her cook as well as a fleet of food trucks to distribute the meals to hundreds of kids.
As the need has continued to grow, Ridge has received vital support from the Community Foundation of Nantucket to keep the operation running. “There’s never been a better time to step up and try to make an impact,” Ridge says. “Nantucket has been very good to me and my team over the years, and we’re just trying to help in doing what we do best.”