FK Your Diet provides food, a helping hand to the SWFL community devastated by Hurricane Ian

FK Your Diet provides food, a helping hand to the SWFL community devastated by Hurricane Ian –

Since opening FK Your Diet in Fort Myers in 2018, founders Amy Eldridge and Doug Miller have been known to lend a helping hand throughout the Southwest Florida community.

Miller was raised as a foster child until he fell out of the system at the age of 18. FK, an acronym for Foster Kids, opened as a way for him to pursue his passion for cooking and giving back to the community. Eldridge and Miller also use their space to help others get back on track.

“All of our employees are either disabled, mentally ill, ex-offenders, or need second, third, fourth and fifth chances. We’ve hired homeless people,” Eldridge said. “We want to make our community better and make them better people,” Eldridge said. So that when they advance, they have a set of skills to take with them.”

FK Your Diet has an ongoing desire to provide free meals to the homeless, as many employees have been part of the adoption system. Besides, they give most of their proceeds to domestic adopted children. Eldridge and Miller said they always do whatever they can during tough times in southwest Florida.

“Every time we have a crisis in our community, or COVID, and obviously Hurricane Ian, we like to feed people, and we want to make sure their stomachs are as full as the tough times for everyone,” Eldridge said.

Although Hurricane Ian caused a loss of power, cooling, and water inside the restaurant, conditions did not intimidate the team at FK Your Diet from doing everything they could to be a mainstay for the stricken area. Since the first day after the hurricane, the team has been distributing about 5,000 meals a day.

Going to the grocery store daily to get supplies and pay employees costs about $10,000 a day for the restaurant, Miller said. However, they have received great support from the surrounding organizations in terms of donations.

“Part of our mission here is to engage our clients, and we’ve really worked on that for the past four years that we’ve been open about it, and they absolutely love it,” said Eldridge. “We can call people running to save us any time we need it. With donations, whether it’s cash or soda, anything is unbelievable.”

The restaurant has received donated generators for lighting and cooling so they can successfully serve the community and is still receiving donations of necessities and hygiene supplies for those who come to eat.

FK Your Diet did not stay at home to serve their meals. Staff were driving to the worst-affected areas to provide food for those who may not have had a warm meal in days.

“We focused on areas that some people might forget or know nothing about,” Eldridge said. “There is a trailer park on the road and we eat their meals several times a day.”

The grateful feedback from residents is what makes all this hard work worth it for Hayden Eldridge. He spent his days visiting communities that had lost so much and providing them with water, supplies, and food.FK Your Diet serving food in Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian

“Just doing it was such a blessing that we were able to give people everything we could, especially water,” Hayden Eldridge said. “I feel like I am now thriving in community service and what we can do. I have never experienced this before.”

The staff at FK Your Diet feel blessed to have the opportunity to give back to those who witnessed the worst of Hurricane Ian.

Mitchell Kirschbaum has worked at FK Your Diet for nearly three years and is now an employee of the Sunrise, Florida location. Once Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida, the East Coast location was raising money to get more food in Fort Myers. He came to the Gulf Coast yesterday to help Miller and Eldridge with packing food and getting things into cars.

“I never worked a day in my life. I love what I do,” Kirschbaum said. “It’s something I’ve always been in love with, just giving it back to anyone anywhere I can.”

Eldridge and Miller are grateful to their employees who push through the unprecedented conditions where the business appears to be running around the clock. “It’s so hot and so exhausting because everything is so fluid,” Eldridge said.[The employees] They were all exceptional because so many of them have been damaged and are themselves in dire straits and still come to work every day.”

FK Your Diet plans to continue giving back to southwest Florida as often as it can.

“As long as we have food, we will continue to cook it and give it because even though we are now out for a week, there are a lot of people who are still in dire straits in our community,” Eldridge said. “So, we’re doing our best.”

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