Since she made the difficult decision to close her BŌL superfood cafe in the Mill Valley Lumber Yard on March 17, Chelsea Hutchison struggled, like so many Mill Valley small business owners, to make sense of it all.

“I have two young kids and without school, our little family had to adjust quickly,” she says. “This past week has been a blur as we navigated the news cycle, parents working from home, and snacks – lots of snacks. All the while I kept thinking, ‘here our cafe sits, closed and full of immune boosting, specialized superfoods, and herbal tonics – food is medicine! We are primed to help in this health crisis.'”

Hutchison stewed on the “how” part it all, finding a way to bring the  benefits of immune-boosting superfoods to people without risking the health of her employees are the broader community. Then Hutchison spoke with her friend Julia Birdsong, a nurse in San Mateo, about how difficult it can be for her to get healthy food at work, even on a shift that’s not during a pandemic.

That’s when Hutchison had the a-ha moment: First Responder Meals

​”Purchase a meal for a firefighter, a police officer or a nurse, and we will deliver those pre-ordered custom s to a local first responder,” she says. “We’ve connected with local agencies to feed our Sheroes + Heroes, but we need your help. Without income at BŌL I couldn’t personally sponsor all the meals but didn’t want to stick nurses with a bill either. That’s where the community comes in. So many people that want to support but can’t, lonely from this forced social separation.”

Supporters simply go to the BŌL website, with each purchase of a $15 gift card funding BŌL of a first responder’s choice, an immunity boosting Fire Cider and a strict CDC + Marin Health Department approved delivery. BŌL donates all labor and delivery costs.

“All meals will be made and delivered by me and coordinated through our BŌL family,” Hutchison adds. “We are dedicated to our frontline community staying healthy as they fight an invisible threat. Do you have a direct connection to a first responder? DM me. We’re all in this together.”

On Wednesday, March 25, BŌL Is doing meal drops at Mill Valley Fire Department, heading to Marin General Hospital on March 26 and then Marin Sheriff’s Communication Office on March 27 and the Emergency department at Marin General on March 28.

The pay it forward campaign, which you can contribute to here, has already funded more than 100 meals.

“This could be a way for local cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, food artisans and more to stay in business,” Hutchison says. “Providing meals for those that are on the front lines of this invisible health crisis. I’d like to expand to grocery store clerks, postal workers, farmers, truck drivers, janitors — all the people working to keep our communities afloat. Imagine if local communities could pay for businesses to stay open while providing meals for their own Sheroes + Heroes. That’s a silver lining I’m fighting for.”

The 411: The BŌL superfood cafe in the Mill Valley Lumber Yard has launched a pay-it-forward meal program for first respondersMORE INFO