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Founding Farmers is rehiring over 250 employees, will deliver groceries to all 8 DC Wards

The restaurant is giving back during the pandemic, servicing areas of the city that do not have access to food delivery service and regular groceries.

WASHINGTON — A well-known D.C. restaurant group is going above and beyond the challenges of a pandemic.

On Thursday, members of the Farmers Restaurant Group -- which owns popular spots like Founding Farmers and Farmers & Distillers -- launched Founding Farmers Market & Grocery in D.C., an initiative aimed at providing high-quality food and groceries to be delivered to all eight of D.C.'s wards. 

"If we're all in this together that means all of us," Founding Farmer co-owner Dan Simons said.  "There are several parts of the city where there's just not great access to really good, fresh food. Even though we are doing curbside pickup, not everyone has transportation to where my restaurant is in D.C. Everybody deserves access to fresh good food."

On top of making food more accessible, the new market and grocery located at the Farmers & Distillers D.C. location will hire back over 250 of its laid-off employees; Simons said he laid off 1,100 employees at his four locations. 

The Farmers Restaurant Group said they saw a need to give back when they couldn’t find delivery partners that could meet their delivery requirements to serve all of D.C.'s eight wards -- especially in Wards 7 and 8 -- where some couldn't find adequate grocery carriers.

Instead of waiting for one, the team decided to create their own. 

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Credit: AP
In this April 15, 2020, photo, Dan Simons, one of the owners of Founding Farmers, wears a face shield as he is photographed through the window of his restaurant in Potomac, Md. Simons added fresh produce and other grocery items to his Founding Farmers restaurants this month. Simons expects to continue grocery sales once his dining rooms reopen. He's also considering other ideas, like renting out the dining space for events. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


They began hiring District residents from those wards to help with food and grocery deliveries in addition to hiring back laid-off employees. As of April 23, 268 employees have been hired back to help with deliveries and manage operations like the market.

The market sells over 300 products, ranging from fresh produce to freshly baked bread and a fully equipped deli. Beyond food, the group is also selling household staples like toilet paper and the company’s own Founding Spirits hand sanitizer. And for those looking at some treats, ice cream, and pre-made bottled cocktails will be available for purchase too.

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Credit: AP
In this April 15, 2020, photo, Dan Simons, one of the owners of Founding Farmers, stands outside his restaurant in Potomac, Md. Founding Farmers is closed to in-restaurant dining during the coronavirus outbreak but they are providing delivery, and curbside pick-up to-go, for meals and groceries. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


Those who are looking to support the restaurant workers beyond gratuity can donate to the group's Employee Relief Fund, which includes efforts to provide free meals to laid-off employees and their families. 

Pre-orders for the Founding Farmers Market and Grocery start today, with curbside pick-up and delivery available on April 24. For a full list of what's available at www.foundingfarmersmarket.com.

RELATED: Chef rehires staff due to takeout, delivery demands

Credit: AP
In this April 15, 2020, photo, employees wear facemarks and gloves to transfer to-go orders to waiting cars at Founding Farmers restaurant in Potomac, Md. Founding Farmers is closed to in-restaurant dining during the coronavirus outbreak but they are providing delivery, and curbside pick-up to-go, for meals and groceries. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


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