Gigs Doing Good: Musically Fed Partners With The Grammys To Feed Those In Need

Musically Fed founder Maria Brunner snaps a photo with Casey Immoor, Director, Production & Event Operations at The Recording Academy.

Following the Grammy Awards Feb. 5, winners, nominees and guests were treated to the Recording Academy’s extravagant Grammy Celebration at the Los Angeles Convention Center featuring a “take flight” theme, highlighted by an aviary, pond and a menu dreamed up by chef Jason Fullilove that was inspired by destinations such as Jalisco, Mexico; Havana, Cuba; Jamaica and Miami. The lavish spread boasted 48 food stations and 48 bars with appetizers, entrées, and desserts including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes such as the Jalisco station with beef birria, lime cured snapper and chili lime chicharron popcorn. Nonprofit Musically Fed was on site to collect unused catering from the feast to donate to charity organizations in the Los Angeles area.

In its third year working with the Grammys, Musically Fed also gathered food from concessions and venues suites at the awards show, held at Arena, and the MusiCares Persons of the Year gala honoring Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson, which took place at the Convention Center Feb. 3.

“We are so pleased to partner again with Musically Fed to repurpose food and beverage from our events. The good work they do helps eliminate waste, drives awareness in our industry, and most importantly helps people in need. We are grateful for all the wonderful work they do!” said Casey Immoor, director of production and event operations at the Recording Academy.

Maria Brunner, the owner of Scottsdale, Arizona-based marketing firm Insight Management, started Musically Fed in 2016 in honor of her late husband, who was a proud Vietnam veteran. Musically Fed works with artists, promoters and venues to donate uneaten backstage meals as well as artist and VIP catering, to help feed veterans and people facing homelessness and food insecurity.

At the MusiCares event, Brunner says Musically Food repurposed vegetables and beef from the plated affair, and at the Grammy Awards, the organization collected all of the leftover suite foods, as well as unused crew food, including “chicken, pasta, veggies, potatoes, rice and some pretty darn good looking desserts.”

Hors d’oeuvres are seen on display during the 65th Grammy Awards Grammy Celebration at Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. Photo by Jerod Harris / Getty Images / The Recording Academy

Brunner praised restaurant and hospitality company Levy, which provides food and beverages services at the venues, and operator AEG, for its sustainability practices including composting. She says, “It’s the most serious I have seen in sustainability. It’s very solid. What a great example to look to.”

With composting and small bites served at the Grammy Celebration after party, Brunner assumed there wouldn’t be much leftover food to donate.

“So it was small bites, which means people don’t overtake. Whereas, if you have a buffet line, they’ll glomp on a ton of pasta,” Brunner explains. “But they had quite a bit for us because the food that is used to prepare those bites comes from a bigger source. You know, a chicken taquito that has little pieces of chicken – one of the best taquitos I’ve ever tasted in my life, I must tell you – comes from a chicken breast. So they had quite a bit of supplies left, which was great. They also had crew meals that hadn’t been put out on the line.”

Musically Fed volunteers Alissa Herbert, Makenna Ryan, David Sackerman, Ken Deans of KD Production Services and Aydan Yarano of r.Cup gather food after the Grammy Awards Feb. 5 to donate to Los Angeles-based charities.

Musically Fed’s group of volunteers (along with those pictured, Anikka Van El, Jennifer Schmitz, Myka Miller-Jimenez from the Guitar Center Foundation and Julia James from Venue Coalition also volunteered their time) collected enough food from the three events to provide a total of 1,048 meals, with donations going to The Midnight Mission, the Los Angeles Mission, Good Shepherd Center For Homeless Women’ Hawkes Transitional Residence and Good Shepherd’s Languille Shelter.

“The volunteers take time out of their workdays. They stay up late to make it happen,” Brunner said about those who gathered food after the Grammy Celebration ended at 1:30 a.m. “And the Levy crew, the Grammys crew, [put in] extra work. They are cognizant and organized so that they can give us whatever they can. That takes time, effort and planning. I’m grateful that people do it, including Anne Diercks at Musically Fed who was really instrumental in this and helped organize all the volunteers.”

Confirmed tours working with Musically Fed in 2023 include Lake Street Dive, which also partnered with PLUS1 to donate $1 per ticket for all of its “Gather Round Sounds” shows in January and February to the nonprofit.

Plus, Musically Fed is once again teaming up with C3 Presents’ Lollapalooza in Chicago and Innings Fest in both Tempe, Arizona, and Tampa, Florida.