Hungry to Help: Sandy Relief for Cooks and Eaters


Sandwiches for Sandy. Photo: BB

It should come as no surprise that amidst all the Sandy relief efforts there’s a strong focus on food here in Brooklyn. From sandwich assembly lines, to Food52 bringing hot meals to Gerritsen Beach to restaurants supporting small producers who have been hurt by the hurricane, there’s a cornucopia of delicious ways to lend a hand, whether as a cook, a listener or an eater. For other Sandy efforts check out our ongoing list of volunteer and donation opportunities.

Raising Funds While Filling Your Belly
-For Dine Out Williamsburg, several dozen restaurants, bars, cafés and other businesses around Williamsburg, Greenpoint and beyond are donating between 10 and 20 percent of their gross receipts from today, November 8, to the Red Cross. The full list of participantsincludes casual spots like duckduck bar, The Meatball Shop and Dumont Burger, as well as places where you might go for a special dinner out, like Reynards, Isa and Walter Foods.

-If you feel like heading to Manhattan tonight, Meat & Liquor for the Rockaways: A Benefit Tasting & Celebration at Hudson Terrace should be a good time. Grass-fed beef from upstate will be prepared by five different chef and paired with 13 different artisanal spirits. Proceeds from the $45-ticket go to Rockaways relief efforts.

-Pies ‘n’ Thighs recently tweeted: “Pies ‘n’ Thighs is donating $1 of every chicken and pork box this month to Red Cross for #Sandy relief. Let’s do this.”

-The Diamond is hosting a chili cook-off on Sunday, November 11, to benefit Occupy Sandy.

The Food52 crew made a huge amount of hot food for Gerritsen Beach this week. Photo: Food52

Knives on the Cutting Board
-If you want to actually cook for someone hungry for a hot meal, there are a variety of opportunities to do so. Plovgh, in Prospect Heights has been coordinating food collection, cooking and delivery of hot meals. You can volunteer to cook, deliver or source, here.

-The Food Bank for New York City needs volunteers each day for jobs including cooking, distribution and collection. You can register online to lend a hand.

-Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope has one of the most efficient, organized volunteer systems anywhere in the city. The link on the top of their volunteer page is updated daily so that you can click through to sign up for tasks, including hot food prep and sandwich making, for the current day or the next day. Other organizations seeking hot food, food prep, and food delivery include Red Hook Initiative (email first), Occupy Sandy, and Councilman Steve Levin’s Sandy Relief team at Ascension Hall in Greenpoint. We also hear that Allison Robicelli is setting up a kitchen in Bay Ridge to feed Sandy victims. Follow her @robicellis for more details.

Direct Help to Red Hook’s Well-Loved Businesses and Community
The Good Fork in Red Hook was severely damaged in the storm. You can donate to their rebuilding fund here. There is also a tax-deductible fund called Restore Red Hook that is raising $2 million for small businesses in Red Hook, including its restaurants, that were affected by Sandy.

-The Red Hook Food Vendors are raising money to provide hot meals for the community this Saturday. They’ve surpassed their goal, but each $5 donation is another hot meal they can serve. The deadline is today. 

Supporting Local Fisheries
Last year Irene hit farmers in upstate New York and New England hard. Sandy spared the farms, but did serious damage to fisheries from Long Island to Maine. “Really, the waterfront infrastructure just got crushed,” Harrison Shulman, Sea to Table operations director, explained on Heritage Radio. “The docks that boats pull up to, a lot of them are in the water, or have pretty substantial damage to them.” Boats and lobster traps were also damaged. Sea to Table is helping those fisheries get back on their feet by asking restaurants around the country to serve fish and seafood from the Northeast, so that fishermen have enough cash flow for repairs. Local spots include Littleneck, M. Wells at P.S. 1, ABC Kitchen, Cleaver Company, Back Forty and Ditch Plains.

Information is Power
-Speaking of Heritage Radio, they have some of the most comprehensive coverage available anywhere about how the New York food community has been affected by Sandy. There’s insurance advice from Howard Sweetwood, a hospitality industry insurance representative; Rae Bernamoff from Mile End, talks about losing their baking and smoking facility in Red Hook; and Anthony Butler of St. John’s Bread & Life discusses emergency food distribution. There are dozens of great interviews to peruse with chefs, restaurateurs, farmers and non-profit directors.

-Finally, our small business advice guru, Holly Howard, offers up some words of wisdom about how to navigate professional relationships strained by Sandy.

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