LOS ANGELES — If you ask "Everybody Loves Raymond" creator Phil Rosenthal what’s something he loves most, chances are he’ll say food.
“I never had really good food growing up," said Rosenthal. "My parents worked and we didn’t have a lot of money, so delicious food wasn’t a priority. It wasn’t until I went to college that I had different flavors, like garlic. Can you imagine?”
It was his role as creator, writer, and executive producer of the Emmy-winning sitcom that gave him a taste of an even greater love: philanthropy.
“I love being in a position where I could give back. I’m so lucky and I wouldn’t enjoy whatever success I had unless I could share it. Who am I, Howard Hughes alone in my room having it all and not enjoying any of it?" Rosenthal noted.
Combining his two loves, food and philanthropy, has shaped the narrative of Rosenthal’s life. His nonprofit, the Rosenthal Family Foundation, has long had a focus on combating food insecurity around the globe.
As host of Netflix traveling food show Somebody Feed Phil, which just released its fourth season, Rosenthal experiences tons of food from different countries. With this contentious election bringing out a record number of early voters, he decided to focus on bringing food to people in our country – at the polls.
“The fact that people have to wait in long lines to vote is a crime in a democracy. I’m trying to make that wait a little easier,” he said.
Rosenthal created the Somebody Feed the People initiative to raise money for organizations providing meals to people at the polls. The Rosenthal Family Foundation is matching contributions up to $250,000.
This is happening at polls all over the country, but Phil himself has been out passing out food here in Los Angeles, like at iconic concert venue turned voting site The Wiltern. As the line builds, Phil and the World Central Kitchen team get ready.
“This is a wonderful way for everyone to take care of each other and our neighbors, and make the world a little more fair and more gentle,” he said.
It doesn't get much better for a man who loves food as much as he loves giving.