Chris Cubas and Maris Clegg have cooked over 6,800 meals for anyone in need from their home kitchen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On their day off together, partners Chris Cubas and Maris Clegg wake up early Sunday morning and begin cooking. They whip up large batches of red beans and rice. This southern staple isn’t for them, though – it’s for people around Austin who are experiencing food insecurity. Maris, originally from New Orleans, knows the dish well, and both Chris and Maris understand the impact of a home-cooked meal in times of financial and emotional hardship.

Maris and Chris started Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Austin, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. They wanted to bring joy and comfort into the homes of Austin by way of a southern-inspired home-cooked meal. Their initiative has driven over 350 people to volunteer their time in multiple ways through the organization. Some volunteers help as drivers, some donate goods, and others by baking sweet treats and bread.

There is no criteria or judgment given to those requesting meals. Chris and Maris want to help their community. “What we’re hoping is to reach more people who need a meal,” according to Chris. “It’s about getting food to people who might need it – or it might just make them happy on that day. Like, maybe you have a job, you have money – but you’ve got childcare issues, and you’re stressed, and not having to cook that night helps.” Anyone can request a meal through an anonymous Google form posted every Tuesday.

Every week, red beans and rice dishes come with a refreshing Rambler sparkling water, fruit, and home-baked goods from volunteer bakers. On Sundays, volunteers deliver these meals around town, from Anderson Mill to Onion Creek, all out of Chris and Maris’ home in East Austin. They have also helped raise over $7,000 for Family Eldercare’s annual fan drive as part of their ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ movement.

For more information on this incredible community initiative, please check out their websiteFacebook page, or Instagram.