SEATTLE - For months, feeding frontline workers while also helping out local restaurants has been a labor of love for Ryan Dwyer. Frontline workers have been maxed out this year and Ryan is helping them out.
"They’re all working… I mean overtime isn’t even the right word... I don’t know what you would say, but they’re all getting their butts kicked," said Ryan.
While they're working hard to keep us all safe, Ryan works hard to keep them fed with meals from local restaurants also struggling during this pandemic.
The Dwyers know a thing or two about struggling. In 2019, Ryan and his daughter Violet were diagnosed with different cancers and went through treatment together. They were both in remission until May of this year when Ryan found out he would have to battle AML Leukemia, again, and said "at that point, I just couldn’t do the sitting around 'uh woe is me' thing, and so that’s why we went full speed ahead with the Fine Dine Front Lines."
Through Fine Dine Front Lines, Ryan and Violet work with one local restaurant each week. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays they order 100 or more meals each day.
Ryan said it's a win-win.
"The focus is them making extra food, extra money, extra revenue."
Kate Barrett owns Kate's Pub in Seattle and said she's hopeful for the future of her business.
"Little businesses like mine might actually pull through this because he's using money that people crowdfunded and donated to help him out through his cause," said Barrett.
Ryan has worked with Barrett several times this year. The meals purchased are then delivered to frontline workers like the ones who helped Ryan and his daughter through their treatment and recovery.
Ryan said it is the least they can do.
"It just takes a little bit of pressure off their plates and provides them with something that is um, as close to giving them a hug as we could get to giving them a hug," he said.
Ryan's brother stepped up to handle deliveries so he can be safely recovering at home.
"It's such a simple gesture, but there's a lot of meaning in it. We are so thankful for the frontline workers and our hearts go out to every struggling small business and restaurant," said Ryan.
While Ryan is accustomed to giving, he has been on the receiving end of what he calls, "several blessings." Most recently, he was awarded what is being called a Thrivership Award, and with it, $10,000 for Fine Dine Front Lines.
"Every time I feel like it might be time to start treading water… a life vest comes out of nowhere," said Ryan.
Then just weeks before that, another "life vest," he said. Ryan was nominated anonymously for a national Mazda contest, and he and 49 others across the U.S. received a car.
Ryan had no idea of his grand prize.
"I was like what?! I mean I have never won anything in my life," he said.
Mazda actually voted for Ryan to win an additional $25,000, which will go right back into the restaurants in our region.
Through Fine Dine Front Lines, the Dwyers have delivered 11,000 meals.
They plan to put even more energy into the cause next year, a cause that Ryan said has given so much to them.
"It has been a lifeline and it has helped me mentally, spiritually, and physically to deal with all of my treatment," he said.
Ryan said Fine Dine Front Lines will take a little break for the holidays, but they look forward to picking it back up in the new year.
They do operate 100% on donations, so if you would like to help or if you know a restaurant interested in being considered for future deliveries, click here.