Local Chef Feeds 3,000 People Every Week Amid COVID-19

Emilie Poplett
Chef with bags of food

N’Gai Dickerson has cooked in country clubs, fancy restaurants and swanky hotels. But nothing gives him quite as much pride as hopping in his Mobile Kitchen to cook for his community.

Before the pandemic hit, N’Gai would drive across the North Carolina Triad to teach healthy eating and cooking classes in underserved communities. Working for the American Heart Association, N’Gai’s efforts helped address food insecurity in the region. But when the coronavirus reached North Carolina, he knew he had to change course.

With all his classes cancelled, N’Gai is now preparing 3,000 meals a week for people in need.

“What Mobile Kitchen brings to the table is the opportunity to eat healthy during hard times, which is even more important when you want to keep your immune system strong,” he said.

N’Gai delivers his home-cooked meals to homeless shelters, churches, and families in need. The response, he said, has been “nothing but love.”

“I get a little choked up sometimes when I think about it. When you come to their door and you have this food for them, they’re just so appreciative,” he said. “You almost feel like they want you to come in and eat with them. I didn’t get that at the hotels and restaurants and country clubs, so to me it just means so much more.”

But just because he’s not cooking in five star hotels doesn’t mean he doesn’t serve up a first-class meal. His Mobile Kitchen recipes include blackened tilapia and a roasted vegetable medley with a maple glaze. Fan favorites also include comfort food like tailgate chili and healthy dessert options like apple crisp. Many of his recipes use ingredients from local farmers.

He can’t cook up thousands of meals all by himself, though. N’Gai said many chefs who were out of work because of COVID-19 jumped into help. Dozens of volunteers and community partners have joined him to help feed their communities.

Angela Boykin, Healthy Blue’s Medicaid director and chief administrative officer, said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is proud to support Chef N’Gai’s efforts as he continues to provide healthy meals to those in need.

“The American Heart Association’s Mobile Kitchen is a wonderful example of an initiative that combines the spirit of innovation, caring and action that we need to ensure that North Carolinians can live healthy lives,” she said.

As far N’Gai is concerned, feeding the hungry is just the right thing to do.

“This is my passion, working with people in the community. But it’s more than a passion, really—it’s my responsibility,” he said. “Healthy Blue has really enabled me to further my dreams for the community. For most chefs who are passionate about what they do, it’s about the people. It’s about serving the people. That’s the core of what we do.”

Interested in learning more about health insurance? Get a free online quote or contact the Health Plans of NC Independent Agent on this page. 

Related Articles

Charlotte Hornets
Health

Hornets & Blue Cross NC Partner To Support Project Bolt With Weekly Meal Donations

The Charlotte Hornets and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced they are teaming up to support Project BOLT, a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for marginalized citizens of the Charlotte community. The Hornets and Blue Cross NC are committing to a weekly donation of 300 meals for children in Charlotte over the next six weeks, along with a $10,000 donation to Project BOLT.
The meals, which will come from Uptown Yolk, will be donated on each of the next six Tuesdays, beginning tomorrow.  Hornets Legends Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry will be on hand to tip off the program at the Little Rock Apartments.  Additional information can be found below.
“We are pleased to team with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to support Project BOLT, a local nonprofit doing important work in our community,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield.  “Too many of our neighbors are struggling with food insecurity right now, especially some of our children who will not receive the assistance they normally would in school.  We hope these meals and the additional support from our two organizations will help Project BOLT provide relief to some of those in our community who need it.”
HealthPlans of NC

WCCB by Hanna Oliveto

We resolve to serve our communities during covid-19
Health

Supporting Latino Communities Through COVID-19

For North Carolina, August marks five months of living in a world upended by COVID-19. By July, more than 100,00 North Carolinians had tested positive for COVID-19. And, like the nationwide trend [1], North Carolina’s communities of color are more affected by the virus.
In North Carolina, 9.6% of the population is Hispanic or Latino.[2] But by mid-June, the Hispanic and Latino community represented more than 44% of North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases. [3]
Prior to the pandemic, Latino communities faced greater health disparities. These disparities are caused by social and economic discrimination. Now, some challenges are proving even greater under the stress of a virus.
HealthPlans of NC

Melissa Biediger

People wearing masks delivering groceries
Health

Supporting Our Seniors Amid COVID-19

North Carolina seniors are at risk. Here’s how we’re helping support them.
Adjusting to our new routines during COVID-19 looks different for everyone. For some, it’s fewer trips to the mall or more meals at home. But for at-risk individuals, it can mean complete isolation.
As we now know, COVID-19 causes the most severe health issues for adults over 60, with particularly fatal results for those 80 years and older. This is forcing many senior citizens in our communities to stay indoors. While it helps limit coronavirus exposure, it also limits interactions with friends and family.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Person getting a covid-19 test in a car
Health

A Timeline Of COVID-19 Symptoms

FROM INITIAL SYMPTOMS TO RECOVERY, FIND OUT HOW COVID-19 SYMPTOMS PROGRESS.
You’ve been careful. You’ve stayed socially distant. You’ve worn a mask. You’ve washed your hands often. But others weren’t as careful. And when you went to grab takeout last week, you bumped shoulders with someone who had COVID-19. Little did you know, they had just coughed, and you are now infected.
You may not start feeling symptoms immediately, but when you do, what can you expect?
HealthPlans of NC

Dr. Larry Wu

Person wearing a mask getting a vaccine
Health

Get The Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines: 5 Rumors Debunked

Recently the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Since then, you may have heard rumors about their safety and effectiveness on social media or from people you know.
It’s reasonable to have concerns about a new vaccine.
To help you separate fact from fiction, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Medical Directors are breaking down some of the most common myths.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

We resolve to make total health a priority
Health

How To Manage OCD & Anxiety During The COVID-19 Outbreak

We’ve all heard people joke about their “OCD tendencies.” You might think of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a mild problem, or even a helpful behavior for “neat freaks.” But the truth is that OCD is a serious behavioral health condition. It impacts nearly 1 in 40 (or 2 to 3 million) adults in the United States at some point in their lives. It can significantly impact a person’s relationships with others, their work or school, and their sense of self.
We talked with Dr. Patrick McGrath, Head of Clinical Services at NOCD to learn more about this behavioral health condition during COVID-19.
Q: What impact has COVID-19 had on people with anxiety and OCD?
HealthPlans of NC

Chelsea Moravek and Susan Foosness

Flu Shot calendar
Health

No Flu For You: 5 Flu Shot Myths Debunked

It’s that time of year; flu season is upon us. That means flu shots.
Maybe you’re ready to go and are rushing to Target because they’re offering discounts to shoppers who get the flu shot as an incentive. Great! You know the importance of getting the flu shot, not just for yourself but for your loved ones, too.
But maybe you’re not so ready. Maybe you’ve heard something that’s swayed your opinion this year. Something that scared you or made you think twice. We get it. Every year rumors circulate about getting vaccinated, from the outlandish to the plausible. And it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not, especially in this age of lightning fast communications.
HealthPlans of NC

Allison Bonner

Ready to get started?
Get a free quote today.
Get Started