By Joyce Appelman
When our local government ordered a shutdown of all in-room dining at restaurants to stop the spread of COVID-19, our chefs, restaurants and foodservice colleagues rose to the challenge by shifting to take-out and delivery and mostly feeding first responders and food-insecure New Yorkers.
Many chefs are finding ways to give back to health care workers and other essential employees. Barbara Sibley of East Village La Palapa and La Palapa Tacos at Gotham West Market, has been delivering meals to healthcare workers and food-insecure New Yorkers. In one week, her team served 2,000 meals. She’s had the support of her team, World Central Kitchen, Gotham West Market and Hospitality Workers United to make it all possible. She also partnered with Dr. Meryl Rosofsky for a weekly donation to three departments at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She’s launched https://www.gofundme.com/f/la-palapa-meals-for-hospitals and the food insecure.
Piatto, Blend on Vernon, Centro Italian Kitchen, Vernon Grille, Manetta’s, Bella Via and Little Chef, Little Cafe in Long Island City have been providing free grab-and-go meals on weekdays in partnership with LIC Relief to students and families. To support residents in the borough, LIC Relief is currently collecting donations to continue providing free meals. For each meal a restaurant provides, LIC Relief gives $5 in relief to a local business. The organization’s goal is to provide meals until New York City schools reopen. To donate: https://licrelief.org/
Chef Maria Loi of Loi Estiatorio has delivered hundreds of nutritious, healthy meals to the frontline healthcare workers at NYU Langone, Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital, The Floating Hospital, NY Presbyterian-CUMC, Bellevue Hospital, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. She’s also partnered with her patrons’ and neighbors, Justin and Angela Clair, Founders of GlobeTrotters, who started the GoFundMe initiative “to provide free meals to the healthcare heroes at NYC hospitals.” Collectively, the GoFundMe team has delivered over 1000+ meals to over 12 New York City hospitals.
Mamoun’s Falafel on Macdougal Street and St. Marks Place recently launched a “Buy One, Feed One” fundraiser. For each falafel sandwich purchased in April, Mamoun’s made an equivalent donation to the Food Bank For New York City to cover the cost of one meal.
frontlines of the COVID-19
Sarina Prabasi of Buunni Coffee is daily sending coffee to multiple hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, post offices and more. The coffee is sent with cups, spoons, sugar and regular and oat milk, and there’s an option to send pastry as well. The coffee is delivered by community volunteers from Uptown Community Church. They’re also partnering with Everyman Espresso and Odeko to serve coffee to even more people, uptown and in the Bronx. To donate: https://www.buunnicoffee.com/products/pick-me-up
Jessica Taige of Jessie’s Nutty Cups delivered over 1,300 two-packs, which were distributed to Brooklyn Methodist, Lenox Health Greenwich Village (Northwell Health), Weill Cornell, and Beth Israel. She was matching the value of all orders that came in through her website. Susan Palmer of Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop has been donating her amazingly delicious Chocolate Chip, S’mores, and Lemon Sugar cookies.
Both Jessica and Susan are involved with Founders Give, a streamlined approach to donate to hospitals. They act as the middleman for distribution to hospitals by providing warehouse space and trucks for delivery, all of which is being donated. Learn more on their website: https://www.foundersgive.co/our-story.
These are just some of the businesses and people that have quickly responded to support our community and help get through this crisis.
You can join their causes where your donations, not only help feed healthcare professionals, but also supports participating businesses.
Joyce Appelman is an award-winning writer, communications and public relations consultant supporting culinary education, training and scholarships, and has been instrumental in opening career opportunities for many young people in the foodservice and hospitality industry. She was the Communications Director of C-CAP, the nonprofit she helped found, and is a board member for New York Women’s Culinary Alliance (NYWCA) and Association for Training and Success (AFTSMentors.org). She is a contributing writer for Total Food Service, a B2B foodservice publication.