Food Access: RubyRide delivers hot, healthy meals created with love by Love Rocks Cafe

RubyRide’s Aedan Marty and Farm to Table Western PA’s Mary Hagan and Seppi Grugan delivering food in April.

While COVID-19 continues to have many small businesses in a holding pattern, others have altered their operations to continue to be of service to their neighborhoods.

Instead of delivering people to where they need to be, RubyRide rideshare COO Aedan Marty is bringing hot meals to locals in need. Restauranteur Jackie Page-Heidelberg of Love Rocks Cafe fame is using the kitchen space at her Father Ryan Arts Center eatery to prepare the hundreds of fresh meals.

“This partnership is helping to address food access challenges that have become even more acute given this crisis,” says Marty. “It’s connecting food providers with the end-user.”

The two work with Farm to Table Western PA on the program designed to bring fresh and healthy foods to Allegheny County Housing Authority residents. The county-wide Farm to Table project is funded through a Heinz Endowments grant and may soon be expanding to be able to reach more families in need.  

Jackie Page-Heidelberg prepping healthy meals for delivery in the Love Rocks Cafe kitchen.

Currently, the hot meals are being delivered only to households within the county’s housing authority system.

“The people are happy to receive the meals,” says Page-Heidelberg, who adds she hopes it will prompt people to think differently about how they eat.

Working with Page-Heidelberg and the others is a great experience says Marty.

“Jackie has been a superstar,” says Marty, adding that her focus is not only on preparing tasty and healthy meals but on how these meals are packaged. 

Heidelberg developed a system where meals are packaged by residents per household to make delivery easier. So far she’s prepared and packaged about 1,100 meals for the program.  

Scratch Food and Beverage in Troy Hill, Aunt Cheryl’s Cafe in Braddock and Hazelwood’s Community Kitchen Pittsburgh are also creating healthy, fresh meals for the program. County-wide, more than 4,000 hot meals have been delivered. 

As part of its COVID-19 response, RubyRide’s Jefferson Hills program has entered into a similar project with the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. RubyRide Sto-Rox is also working with 412 Food Rescue to bring food to those in need locally.