The vision of Food on the Stove is to create a healthier fire service by giving Firefighters access to healthier food. This includes a plan to activate old firehouses that were once used as shelter for firefighters who typically work overnight shifts to readily respond to public emergencies. Unused or underutilized firehouses will be converted into food retail spaces with the end goal of giving firefighters more access to healthier food at a discounted price, which will help to address the number one cause of on duty deaths for firefighters—heart disease. In the United States, approximately 45% of firefighter’s on duty death are due to cardiovascular events.
To accomplish this, we will convert vacant firehouses which are often located within vibrant communities into a multi-use community resource spaces-- a retail space with a portion of sales revenue going to fund Food on the Stove programs for Firefighters and a commercial kitchen where Food on The Stove will use to operate their firehouse meal delivery program Farm to Firehouse. There are currently 5 vacant firehouses in the Washington DC Metro Area that can potentially be converted.
In addition, revitalized firehouses will serve as a critical public safety resource providing space for food storage, preparation, and disbursement in times of public health emergencies such the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or civil unrest; when Firefighters are typically at the front line of response efforts and are disproportionally affected by disruptions to the food supply chain.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic Food on the Stove joined the emergency response in DC Fire and EMS by using public and corporate donations to partner with local area restaurants to provide 30,000 meals to over 2000 DC Fire & EMS personnel at no cost to them. Our COVID-19 distribution plan allowed us to partner with 28 local restaurants to serve those who serve us.
With our vision for converting unused firehouses into food access and resources spaces, we see an opportunity to 1) double down on our current service to firefighters, specifically our Farm to Firehouse program, 2) serve as a fresh food community retail space powered by local farms and food vendors, and 3) expand our public emergency response capacity to support the community at large in times of crisis.
Firehouses are a staple in every community, but even more so in the heart of firefighters. The building aren’t just structures, they have become a second home to countless men and women who serve their community. In the past, these firehouses were used to respond to the community’s emergency. We believe that now they should be used to respond to the firefighters’ emergency – heart disease.
We dream of a day where Food on the Stove will restore firehouses across the country to help supplement the cost of meals in the firehouse and give our local heroes access to healthier options. We have identified 2 firehouses that we are interested in purchasing.