Harvard Medical student a finalist for L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Natalie Guo is on track to graduate in the spring as part of the Harvard Medical School Class of 2022. But she’s also part of another class. A much smaller one.

Natalie is a finalist for the 2021 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth. The award recognizes the philanthropic achievements of 10 non-profit leaders from across the nation.

“We have been lucky to feed over 830,000 meals to people in need,” Guo said.

In March of 2020, just as the pandemic began, Natalie started a non-profit called Off Their Plate. They send donations to restaurants that are led by women and people of color and that are struggling to keep their staff employed, like Suya Joint in Roxbury.

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“I’m forever grateful and I don’t think it’s anything I’m going to forget anytime soon, I think to the day I go, as well as my family members my kids,” said Cecelia Lizotte, owner of Suya Joint.

Part of the deal is that the restaurants are asked to use some of the donations to help feed the homeless and hospital workers and anyone who was on the front lines of the pandemic. Off Their Plate has dropped-off meals at more than 460 locations around the country but launched in Boston.

“We took off so quickly, and so many generous donors and all the hospitals and nurses were donating, it was really magical. I think the window into Boston’s community has been probably the biggest blessing for me,” Guo said.

Off Their Plate has worked with about 70 restaurants in the Boston area, but they’ve expanded from coast-to-coast.

The winner of the L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth will be announced later in December. The winner receives $25,000 for their charity.

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