Donations sought to feed those who are homebound or out of work

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Fruitful car manufacturers: The South End Children’s Café, at 25 Warren Street in Albany, is collecting food donations on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m., which is then delivered to 350 families.

ALBANY COUNTY — The day after Dominick Purnomo closed down his restaurant because of statewide restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus, he started Feed Albany to provide food to those who need it.

“In these trying times, one of the most beautiful and encouraging things we see is people coming together to support each other,” Purnomo said at the county’s press briefing on Saturday.

Using donated funds for food and volunteer labor, Feed Albany has provided 5,200 meals this past week, Purnomo said. “We’re feeding 750 families on a daily basis,” he said, using three or four kitchens — including Yono’s, Savoy Taproom, and Kitchen 216 — to “make sure nobody’s going without in these tough times.”

Recipients of the packaged, delivered meals include homebound seniors and out-of-work restaurant employees.

“Today, we’ll deliver another 300 meals,” Purnomo said on Saturday, adding that he is grateful for contributions made to the Feed Albany website.

“We are working closely with Albany County, the City of Albany, The Food Pantries, The Regional Food Bank, the Albany County Sheriff and various other local organizations and service providers to identify those at-risk and in-need and through our resources & partnerships, to facilitate delivery of both prepared meals and food items to these individuals and organizations,” says the website.

It also reports that Feed Albany delivered Easter dinners and Easter baskets to people in need throughout the county.

On Saturday, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced a $10,000 contribution to support Feed Albany made through United Way of the Greater Capital Region from a donation from local mosques and the Muslim community.

Twenty-two million Americans are applying for unemployment, McCoy noted and said many are without the means to meet basic needs.

McCoy also lauded the work of the South End Children’s Café, founded by Tracie Killar in 2015. Typically, the café provides free after-school activities and meals for South End kids and their families.

With the coronavirus crisis, the café is holding a food drive every Monday, at 25 Warren Street in Albany, from 5 to 6 p.m. and then delivering food to 350 families on Tuesdays, McCoy said.

The café is looking for donations of foods, said McCoy, naming eggs, milk, cereal, taco kits, and sour cream among other items — “anything you can give to help,” he said.

Killar had told The Enterprise last summer, “The South End is a food desert; there is no affordable healthy food here … SpaghettiOs, white bread, and mac-and-cheese,” she said, naming typical fare for children, “are not fine … Food cooked from scratch is healthier. We wanted an alternative — a lot of greens, a lot of proteins, no juice, no soda, no processed foods.”

Killar cited studies that show students who are “food insecure” — who have to worry where the next meal is coming from — don’t do as well in school; they can’t focus on learning when they are hungry.

She also cited research that shows kids who share meals with their families do better in school and have fewer emotional and behavioral problems.

“Many of our kids have come here every day for five years,” said Killar last summer. Families are welcome to join their kids for a meal. The chef, Floyd Scott, also puts together meals-to-go that families can take home with them when they pick up their kids at 5:30 p.m. on weeknights. Scott prepares meals in compliance with Albany County Health Department regulations, Killar noted.


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