BROOKLYN – Operation Feed Brooklyn is yet another great local initiative that organizes meal deliveries from local restaurants to those who need it, funded through donations. So far more than 12,000 meals, 8,500 coffees, and 1,500 snacks have been delivered to front line workers in hospitals fighting against the coronavirus.
During the past two months, some restaurants that had initially shut down during the pandemic, opened back up to take part in the initiative, including Avocaderia, Japan Village, Sahadi’s, Hometown BBQ, and Gumption Coffee. One Girl Cookies is working to provide the snacks.
Food is usually delivered in the late morning/early afternoon for lunchtime, and the schedule switches daily to suit the specific hospital’s needs. The group delivers about 1,000 meals weekly to New York-Presbyterian/Methodist Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, Maimonides Medical Center, and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
“Our focus is on healthcare workers, the people who support them, AND restaurants, who need business to make it through. It’s a win-win. Healthcare workers have been working overtime under extremely stressful conditions, and most of their cafeterias are closed – so getting food is a real challenge,” Zassenhaus, the founder of Operation Feed Brooklyn, told Bklyner. “We saw a win-win with the ability to get them food by also supporting local restaurants, and funding that mission with the local community who mutually benefits from having a vibrant and healthy community once this emerges; if restaurants can make it through.”
Operation Feed Brooklyn is coming from the local community — particularly citizens who are motivated by the cause, Zassenhaus explained. The average donation is $100, although they have received some donations from individuals and local businesses of $1,oo0, or more. In some cases, restaurant patrons have contributed to help the restaurants they care about, too.
“In my professional life, I help companies better understand their customers and align their solutions with those needs so both can be successful,” Zassenhaus said. “If I can do that and also help humanity, it’s an ideal effort in my book. Also, like most involved in this initiative, I was feeling generally helpless and simply put, it helps my spirit to know that I’m making a positive impact.”
One of the restaurants that is taking part in this initiative is Avocaderia at 238 36th Street.
Avocaderia closed to public two months ago, but working with Operation Feed Brooklyn has allowed them to continue to operate and pay their staff. They shut down to preserve the safety of the employees and customers, (and because they saw a 90% drop in sales), but, owners tell us, they are planning on a potential re-opening focusing on pick-up and delivery as things improve.
For Alessandro Biggi, the co-owner of Avocaderia, opening up to give back to hospitals was a no brainer.
“Operation Feed Brooklyn is a win-win-win model: on one side restaurants and their workers are able to get back to do what they can do best,” Biggi said, “on the other end healthcare workers get access to a nutritious meal that hopefully will ease a bit their day and ultimately people that are in the position to make a donation know that they are having a direct impact on the community.”
To donate, check out Operation Feed Brooklyn’s page here.