"We both have deep roots years in this neighborhood and we said what can we do? let's mobilize," said Patrick Thompson, LIC Relief.
Thompson and Kelly Craig did just that. They created LIC Relief. Money raised in part goes to stock pantries in Long Island City. The rest of the money goes to neighborhood restaurants that cook meals for the hungry.
"It's really an ecosystem raised community-based model," Thompson said.
Nine restaurants are participating, including Manetta's which has been in Long Island City for 28 years.
"The neighborhood thinks of us as part of the family and we think of the neighborhood as part of our family, also our customers are an extension of our family," said Joseph DeRiso, Manetta's.
DeRiso represents the third generation. Every day they make hot lunches. They're free and available for pickup. Some are delivered to NYCHA residents.
"We did eggplant parm yesterday, spaghetti and meatballs, risotto and chicken," said Lisa Manette-Negrette, Manetta's.
It's comfort food that is so needed. LIC Relief reimburses them $5 per meal. It's money that's helped Manetta's keep eight of their 20 staffers employed.
"We relish the opportunity to give back to the community," Manette-Negrette said. "We really appreciate that we were called upon and thought of to do that."
"Our whole theme is neighbors helping neighbors. We know we can't solve everything in this crisis, we can't make everything go away," Thompson said. "We knew we could help with this meal distribution, and the beautiful thing is most of these restaurant owners live in our neighborhood."
In just a month LIC relief has raised $76,000. All started by two neighbors who care deeply about their community.
"It's been so remarkable to see so many people give and also so many people receive, and it brings the community together in such a strong way," Craig said.
Craig and Thompson say these restaurants are such an intrinsic part of their neighborhood they hope they can survive.
They encourage people to continue ordering from the restaurants, which is what we encourage you to do tonight. Whatever neighborhood you live in, order in.
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