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Photograph: Morgan Olsen

These 7 Chicago restaurants let you send food straight to frontline workers

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We certainly don't need another excuse to order delivery or takeout tonight, but we found a really good one. Some of the best restaurants in Chicago are inviting their customers to send meals to the city's frontline workers—and it's as easy as logging into your Netflix account.

"We were thinking of ways to best steward our resources and utilize our skills to contribute during this time," says Vicki Kim, managing partner at Mott St. and Mini Mott. "We decided to drop off meals for hospital staff to take that basic need off their plate. When we did our first meal drop and shared on social media, the response from folks to help contribute was overwhelming, so we decided to create a way for people to donate meals so they could participate in a tangible way."

If you've got a few bucks to spare next time you're ordering takeout, why not toss in lunch or dinner for Chicago healthcare workers, police officers or firefighters who are protecting our city on the daily? Read more about what Mott St., Mini Mott and five other local restaurants are doing to feed Chicago's frontline.

Happy Camper + Homeslice: These two Chicago pizza shops are almost making it too easy to give free meals to healthcare workers. On both restaurants' Grubhub pages, you'll find an $11 menu item called "Buy a meal for a healthcare worker/volunteer." Toss a few in your cart, and don't forget an order of Jalapeño Homies and take-and-bake cookie dough for yourself.

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Lou Malnati's: This pizza icon's charitable Kindness Rocks program has been around for ages, but during the current crisis, it's being used to feed healthcare professionals, firefighters and police officers who are keeping Chicagoans safe. For every dollar donated to Lou's Kindness Rocks Go Fund Me campaign, the company will provide twice the value in food. So if you give $10, Lou Malnati's will deliver $20 worth of food to frontline workers. They're aiming to raise $50,000 total, which would nourish more than 17,500 people, and they're more than halfway there.

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Mott St. + Mini Mott: While you're browsing the delivery menus at these sister spots from chef Edward Kim, consider purchasing meals for healthcare professionals at Northwestern, Lawndale Christian, Mount Sinai and beyond. So far, the team behind Mott St. and Mini Mott has handed out more than 400 hearty bowls to fuel medical professionals. One meal is $15, but if you're feeling extra generous, you can donate 35 meals for $500. Don't forget to add a note of appreciation before you check out—it will be included with your edible gift upon delivery.

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Vanille: In addition to making some of the tastiest macarons in town, the folks at this French patisserie set up a meal sponsorship program that ferries lunches straight to essential workers throughout the city, including doctors, nurses, police officers and firefighters. Plus, they'll toss in a few meals on the house to stretch your dollar: When you donate $50, you get six meals and Vanille adds two, bringing the total number of gifted meals to eight. If you've got more to give, $100 provides 15 meals, $150 provides 24 meals, and $200 provides 34 meals. You can even select a specific healthcare center or police or fire station that you'd like to sponsor.

Wherewithall: If you love the soul-warming family meals that this Avondale restaurant is packaging up for brunch and dinner five days a week, consider gifting some of their cooking to healthcare workers at the Swedish Covenant Hospital in Ravenswood. All you have to do is enter your email address, select your contribution amount ($10–$100), enter your payment information—and voila! One of the best restaurants in Chicago helps put food on the table for essential healthcare workers.

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