Hudson Valley Restaurants Feed Health Care Workers

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Feeding the Front Line

Despite Taking a Hard Economic Hit, Hudson Valley Eateries Take the Lead to Feed Health Care Workers

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COURTESY OF THE FEEDING NWH ICU STAFF GOFUNDME
  • Courtesy of the Feeding NWH ICU Staff GoFundMe

“The life that I've built for myself as a 40-year-old man, who was supposed to get married and buy a house at the end of this year, is crumbling around me, and all I can do is smile and go to work. It fucking sucks. ” says Tom Stevens, chef-owner of Iron & Wine restaurant in Patterson, NY.


Across the nation, COVID-19 closures have gutted small businesses, with restaurants especially hard hit. A record number of Americans are out of work, and tens of thousands have died. While everyone’s life has been affected by the pandemic, Stevens was especially hard hit. His Putnam County restaurant is limping along on curbside pickup and delivery orders. His brother, a Manhattan cook, was furloughed until the restaurant group he works for reopens its locations. And last week his father passed away from COVID-related complications.


And yet, Stevens is charging forward, taking phone orders, keeping his regulars fed, and delivering dozens of meals to local health care workers. Momentum keeps the grief at bay. “We cook meals daily for our EMTs and first responders in the area that are taking COVID calls,” says Stevens, who’s running the kitchen with his fiancee and his sous chef, all masked and gowned. Once a week he does a larger drop of 50+ meals to nearby health care facilities. So far, Iron & Wine has fed the workers at Putnam Hospital, Danbury Hospital, and Salem Hills Rehabilitation Nursing Center, where his father was living. “It’s how I stay positive,” he says. “Do something the old man would be proud of.”



At first, all these meals came out of Stevens own pocket, but that’s changed as customers have caught on. “People have started donating,” Stevens says. “Just even on a small scale. They will call in a takeout order, and we’ll ask if they want to buy a health care worker a meal for an extra $20. I’m grateful to our local customers. It’s awesome what they’re doing.”


It’s not just Stevens. All over the Hudson Valley, despite facing seemingly impossible odds and unprecedented economic pressure, restaurant owners are whirring into motion to feed the region’s hospital workers, EMTs, and first responders.


When I put out the call to see who was doing this, I never expected my inbox to be flooded with as many replies as I got. The solidarity and outpouring of support floored me. Here are some of the area’s restaurants that we know are helping feed the front line, and how you can support their efforts. But if my emails were any hint, there are hundreds of other restaurants we didn’t hear about that are doing the same. The next time you call in a takeout order to your favorite restaurant, ask if they’re feeding health care workers and how you can help.

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Delaware County

In Delaware county, Peg Ellsworth with the MARK Project, a non-profit rural development organization that unites efforts and secures resources to build and revitalize local communities, has organized 12 restaurants in the area to implement a “Feed the Front Line” program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their goal is to deliver approximately 100 prepared lunches and dinners to workers at Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center per week, while supporting the bottom line of area restaurants. Most of the labor involved with making the meals is being volunteered by talented chefs and workers at the local restaurants Ate o Ate, Chappies, The Farmhouse Caterers, Goatie Whites, Inn Between, Mary’s Cookin’ Again, Peekamoose Restaurant, Phoenicia Diner and Trattoria Locale. This effort is sponsored entirely by donations. Contribute to the Feed the Front Line Program.

Columbia County

Spark of Hudson is helping keep Columbia County restaurants in business while feeding invaluable hospital workers. The nonprofit is coordinating eateries to produce meals for ICU staff at Columbia Memorial Hospital, funded by donations. Participating restaurants include the West Taghkanic Diner, a retro diner featuring locally sourced ingredients, house smoked meats, and fresh baked pastries, and William Farmer & Sons. All the profits go to the restaurants. Donate to Spark’s meal train, or if you’re a local restaurant interested in helping the effort, email hello@sparkofhudson.org.

COURTESY OF THE FEEDING NWH ICU STAFF GOFUNDME
  • Courtesy of the Feeding NWH ICU Staff GoFundMe

Gaskins, a tavern and eatery in Germantown is providing the local community with meals through their new “Gaskins Sunday Supper” program. People can place their orders through the tavern’s website to be picked up Sunday, and also have the option to purchase a relief meal or make a donation. Each week they will deliver relief meals to hospital workers, senior citizens and their local food pantry with the support from customers.

Orange County

Potenza Old World Pizza in Goshen has raised $875 for Orange Regional Medical’s emergency fund. Noble Pies in Warwick is donating pies to local hospital workers at St. Anthony's Hospital. Cosimos On Union in Newburgh has been donating meals to St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital, Crystal Run Healthcare, St. Francis Hospital and the Hudson Valley Food Bank. Their Poughkeepsie location has donated to Vassar Brothers Medical Center as well as the local fire departments, police department, and EMT workers.

COURTESY OF THE PLEASANTVILLE HOSPITALITY FOR HOSPITALS GOFUNDME
  • Courtesy of the Pleasantville Hospitality for Hospitals GoFundMe

Greenwood Lake Bagels is allowing customers to sponsor a bagged breakfast or lunch for a local healthcare worker. These meals are individually packaged and sealed as per hospital request.


Middletown’s Something Sweet Dessert Café has been able to donate meals to hospital workers and first-responders with the support of the local community. They have provided lunch and dinner to the environmental services workers at Orange Regional Medical Center along with dinner to two different shifts of the Middletown Police Department. The cafe also has plans to serve the security and maintenance staff at Orange Regional Medical Center along with the staff at one of Cornerstone Community Health Center’s Middletown locations.

Dutchess County

Although the Bonura Hospitality Group, which includes the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, Blu Point, and a range of other event venues and restaurants, is closed to the public, the catering and events service business is providing their nearly 500 laid off employees and their families with “drive through” hot meals every day. Employees can pick up the meals at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor and at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie between 1 and 3pm. The hospitality group has also been hired by individuals and businesses to prepare and deliver meals to health care workers and first responders. So far, they have served Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and Orange Residential Medical Center.


Terrapin, a farm-to-table restaurant in Rhinebeck, has been delivering dinner to the Emergency Room, ICU, and Radiology night shift workers at Northern Dutchess Hospital once a week. Customers can also buy $12 meals to feed frontline workers. This option is available by placing an order over the phone or online.


Another Rhinebeck favorite Matchbox Cafe has also been delivering meals to Northern Dutchess Hospital anonymously.


The Poughkeepsie-based Farmers & Chefs food truck has been feeding workers at Vassar Brothers Medical Center and is running a program where families and businesses can sponsor their food truck to deliver meals to various first responders.

Schatzi’s Pub and Zeus Brewing in Poughkeepsie are allowing customers to sponsor meals for healthcare workers.


The local family Italian restaurant chain Savona’s Trattoria has been providing individually packaged lunches for healthcare workers. The Red Hook location has donated 85 lunches for staff at Northern Dutchess Thompson House, while the Kingston location was able to provide special priced lunches in conjunction with Nuvance Health to workers at the COVID-19 mobile testing site at Tech City.

Ulster County

Thanks to a donation provided by the Ulster County Board of Realtors, Olive’s Country Store & Cafe was able to provide lunches to staff at the Kingston mobile testing site.


The Port Ewen ice cream shop Frozen Rainbow Inc. has been sending sponsored meals to hospitals in Kington.


Tony and Nick’s Italian Kitchen in Ellenville has been providing free dinners to the night shift emergency room workers at Ellenville Regional Hospital on a weekly basis. With a private donation from Woodchips Construction of Ellenville, the restaurant was able to deliver meals to the emergency department at Orange Regional Hospital. The restaurant group’s other two businesses, Palizzata in Kingston and Country Club Grill in Ellenville, have also been making hundreds of meals in partnership with Project Resilience.

Putnam County

Iron & Wine Restaurant in Patterson has been providing meals for healthcare workers at different centers each week, such as Putnam Hospital, Salem Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and Danbury Hospital in Connecticut.

Rensselaer County

Brown’s Brewing Taproom in Troy has donated meals to the Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit and Progressive Care Unit workers at Samaritan Hospital as well as the Troy Fire Department. Their Walloomsac Taproom has made weekly food donations to the Hoosick Falls Central School District’s lunch delivery program.

Westchester County

In Westchester, which was among the earliest and hardest hit locations in the pandemic, and handful of community organizers have stepped forward to create GoFundMe campaigns to support the areas health care workers and institutions. The three campaigns, Pleasantville Hospitality for Hospitals, Feeding Northern Westchester Hospitals' ICU Staff and Food for the Front Line in Westchester, have already raised a combined $72,000! The monetary donations are supporting the bottom line of restaurants in the county, while the organizers coordinating the meal and take-home grocery deliveries to health care workers. Some of the participating restaurants include Three Little Pigs BBQ Hawthorne, Il Forno Somers, Rose Hill Deli, Trotta Food Thornwood, Silvios Restaurant & Pizzeria Thornwood, Salsa Verde Somers, Mission Taqueria Pleasantville, and Taste Deli Somers, plus produce boxes supported by Rengi Wholesale.

COURTESY OF THE PLEASANTVILLE HOSPITALITY FOR HOSPITALS GOFUNDME
  • Courtesy of the Pleasantville Hospitality for Hospitals GoFundMe

The Mahopac gastro pub Klazy Jax has been sending approximately 450 meals each day to the healthcare workers at Somos Community Care, National Guard members, New York State and city police, as well as workers at the mobile testing site in the Bronx.


Bona Bona Ice Cream is running a Scoop It Forward promotion by discounting small bona style cups to $4 dollars for customers to purchase for healthcare workers all across Westchester county. The ice cream shop delivers all purchases in their ice cream truck.

Berkshire County, MA

Haven Cafe and Bakery has partnered with Berkshire Medical Center to provide 50 to 60 meals to their essential workers a week. The cafe is offering their customers the option to buy a meal for a healthcare worker for $20 and donate groceries to people impacted by COVID-19.

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