Non-Profits Keep Restaurant Workers Employed, Deliver Supplies Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Food Bank
Photo credit Chuck Kennedy/MCT/Sipa USA

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally, non-profits are rushing to ensure those who need help the most can get it.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams visited Monte Verde in Cortland Manor on Friday, where Eric Korn – the executive chef – has been on a mission to cook up a million gallons of heart soup for workers who have been laid off due to the virus.

"We have people that we work with every single day who are paycheck to paycheck in this industry who in the last day, day and a half, half a million people have been laid off. There's reports that between five and seven million people may be laid off from the hospitality industry within the next coming weeks. So those are the people that we're thinking about and they're gonna be in a struggle and they weren't expecting this,” he said.

Chefs across Westchester County have been getting idle kitchens back up to a slow simmer as they work to package soup and send off to local food pantries.

They have even started a website to make sure pots don’t go empty.

Meanwhile, New Jersey’s Community Food Bank is working to stock up amid the crisis.

Carlos Rodriguez, head of NJ’s Community Food Banks, says they are trying to get out extra supplies in case folks are stuck in quarantine for weeks on end.

“The meal kits that we are providing in case they have to go down or have to supplement. If a program has to shut down  or if someone has to be shut in, meal kits have about 40 meals in them, so depending on whether you are a family of two or a family of four that may last you a little longer or you may get more than one and so we are trying to do more than the nine meal, three meals for three day average that most programs provided,” he said.

Rodriguez says because of social distancing, food drives right now are not advisable, but donations are always appreciated.

In New York City, several different organizations are helping to get food to the must vulnerable populations.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports The Founding Mission of God’s Love delivered meals to those suffering from HIV/AIDS in the mid-80s and is looking to step up to help amid the COVID-19 crisis.

David Ludwigson, vice president and chief development officer for the organization, says this crisis seems similar.

“It does have that feeling of a great deal of anxiety and fear of the unknown, and at God's Love we feel really good about being at the forefront of that again,” he said.

The non-profit provides 8400 meals a day, and Ludwigson says they've gotten requests for thousands of additional meals.

“We're working through what does that mean in terms of staffing in our kitchen, what does that mean in terms of delivery vehicles, delivery drivers,” Ludwigson said.

Because New Yorkers are urged to remain at home, God's Love is only taking on a limited number of volunteers.

Ludwigson says what they need urgently are donations which can be made through the website.