Chicago Non-Profit Joey's Food Fight Is Fighting Children's Hunger Around the World
Celebrity chef Joey Morelli is using his culinary talents to draw attention to Joey’s Food Fight, a non-profit that supports and raises funds for orphanages globally.
Joey Morelli is a highly successful Chicago Chef and owner of Max’s Deli, a high-volume New York-style Delicatessen in Highland Park. After cutting his teeth behind kitchen counters at some of the most popular restaurants in the country and even hosting a TV show, Joey is now dedicating his time to fighting food insecurity around the world, especially when it affects young ones who are not fortunate enough to have someone to call their own.
Joey’s Food Fight was founded after Chef Morelli met and offered to cook for a month at the Hope House, an orphanage in Cambodia set up by Eric Lyons, founder of Hope for Silent Voices. In May 2022, Joey made his way to the Hope House orphanage where he taught the young residents critical life skills such as shopping for healthy ingredients and cooking good quality affordable meals. During the visit, Joey kept on regularly uploading videos sharing his experiences with the children and asking for donations to help out.
In the first video, uploaded almost a week after the 4th of July shooting in Highland Park, Joey shared an uplifting message on his YouTube channel by saying, “I know there are some bad things going on in my hometown of Highland. It reminds me that it is more important than ever before to do good in your own little circle. Do good wherever you can. I’m in Cambodia right now, cooking for kids at the Hope House. I’m blessed to do this. It is just a reminder to all of us that there is a lot to love in this world and it’s very hard right now. So do good in your own little circle.”
Joey’s latest trip, a return to the Hope House, was sponsored by a fundraiser held at Max’s Deli on November 1, 2022. Following its success, Joey landed in Cambodia on January 24, 2023, after a 25-hour flight. On the very first day, he made his way to Phnom Penh’s central market, also known as Phsar Thmey, to pick up fresh meat and produce to cook for the children at the orphanage. He vlogged the visit, sharing footage of the people he met and the experience at the market. More such videos from his trip can be found on his TikTok channel at https://www.tiktok.com/@joeysfoodfight.
In the videos that followed, Joey detailed teaching the kids to prepare a healthy breakfast, took the viewers on a ride through the city from the inside of a Tuk Tuk, recorded himself grilling a 6-pound grouper fish, revamped a basketball hoop on the premises, took the viewers on a tour of a hydroponic garden, arranged an evening party for the children with bubble tea and Korean fried chicken, and cooked an authentic Mexican dinner and brownies for dessert. Joey also handed out food to 150 families in Stung Meanchey using the money he had collected through donations.
The purpose that Joey Morelli finds in pursuing the humanitarian cause is best summed up in his own words. After returning from the first trip to Cambodia, Joey made an appearance on Daytime Chicago on WGN TV where the hosts asked him to talk about the biggest thing he had learned after visiting the Hope House orphanage.
Joey responded, “The biggest thing I’ve learned is joy. Doing something for somebody, not for the money, not for the ego, not for God. Just doing it. I’m good with that. The children’s joy is just as infectious. These kids live in the Garbage District. It is weird to say that out loud but the kids have more joy than I’ve ever experienced. I feel like the Pied Piper when I am with these kids.”
Readers can visit the non-profit’s website https://www.joeysfoodfight.com to learn more about Joey Morelli and to donate toward the cause.
For more information about Joey's Food Fight, contact the company here:
Joey's Food Fight
Joey’s Food Figh
191 Skokie Valley Road
Highland Park IL 60035