By Libby Rosequist
North East restaurants have created ways to give back to the community for those in need of meals and those still working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Skunk & Goat under Red Letter Hospitality has reached out to the community to donate meals to Erie City Mission, Mercy Center for Women, local first responders, firefighters, police officers and hospitals.
“We realized this is a program our community needed and we are doing our best to provide warm, hearty meals to those in need and the ones still working on the front lines during such a strenuous time for everyone,” Anne Lewis, Red Letter Hospitality marketing director said. “We have been working all throughout the city of Erie. but we also want this program to resonate with North East. The Skunk & Goat is still open and is working around the clock to provide meals to those in need and to our valued customers.”
The Skunk & Goat has delivered over 2,500 meals so far and will have an additional 1,500 this week.
“We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from our communities to bring this to life and help provide meals to the front line health care providers, essential workers etc.,” Lewis said. “If a business or single party is interested in teaming up with us to help continue this program for the community, please reach out.”
Lewis will be the point of contact for monetary donations toward continuing the program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Letter Hospitality also raised $28,000 to help support the employees laid off or unable to work during this time.
The Rusty Wheel is another restaurant that’s received support from the community to help initiate its “pay-it-forward” meals. A customer can order food and choose to pay it forward by buying another meal that can go to a family or person in need.
“Our pay-it-forward meals began when we realized not everyone can make it out here to pick up or could afford to eat out right now,” April Phelps, Rusty Wheel kitchen manager said. “We have also teamed up with Valley Beer to donate meals to the local doctor offices and our firemen.”
The Rusty Wheel donated 75 meals the first week and has averaged 50 meals per week after that.
Anyone interested in paying a meal forward can call the Rusty Wheel at 725-2776 or Phelps at 814-88-4055. Meals can be paid for over the phone or money can be dropped off at the restaurant.
“We want the community to know we are here for you, and if anyone knows of a family or person in need, please contact us so we can help,” Phelps said. “These meals can really make a difference and we can’t say thank you enough to the community and our customers for keeping us open and supporting us through such a tough time. This is the least we can do.”
Valone’s Brooklyn Grocery is open for business and has created a Tuesday special for kids, a free sandwich for the first 20 kids from age 3 to 12.
Valone’s can also be contacted at 725-3108, if anyone knows of a family or person in need of a meal. The restaurant can deliver the food if necessary.
“We are so grateful to still be open and have the ability to give back to those in need,” Rita Valone, Valone’s Brooklyn grocery owner said. “We could not do it without our loyal customers and if you know of anyone in need, do not hesitate to call us, we want to help where we can.”
If a person or family is in need of assistance, residents can reach out to these restaurants and the others still open in town to see what can be done to help.