Operation Open Tab Provides Restaurant Meals to Hungry Families
A new meal distribution program to help those who are struggling during pandemic comes from an unexpected source: a house cleaning service.
Lucia Tucker, owner of Deale-based business Cleaning Maid Easy, is essentially working as a go-between those who need a meal and those who want to donate one from a local restaurant.
“We’ve sensed the overwhelming feeling of anxiety and worry over if — and when — individuals would receive unemployment or get back to work,” says Tucker. “We knew the community would get involved if they had a way.”
Tucker sold quarantine cleaning kits from the supplies she had in her office and was able to raise $500 to start Operation Open Tab.
Anyone in need of a meal can call a participating restaurant and receive a free meal (limit of one meal per family).
“We asked the community and businesses to donate directly to the restaurants and we have raised over $5,000,” Tucker says.
Eight South County restaurants are participating. Each takes a specific night to provide free meals. (SEE BOX)
For example, on Sundays, West River Pit and S&J’s Riverside in Galesville offer free meals. To receive the free meal, you must call the restaurant at least a day in advance.
“Lucia wanted to find a way to provide hot food,” says Jessica Rosage, co-owner of Skipper’s Pier in Deale. “Our customers are the life blood of our business and we care about them like family. This is us getting a chance to lend a helping hand to family.”
“We not only need donations, but we need anyone who has recently been laid off; who is struggling or who is hungry to come forward and be fed,” Tucker says.
“Each person will be allowed to order anything from our appetizers, salads or sandwiches menu,” says Rosage. “No questions asked besides to call when they arrive and we can bring it to their car.”
To donate, or to receive a meal, contact the restaurants directly.
Other options exist for those who are struggling to feed themselves or their family. Feed Anne Arundel is an effort that pays area restaurants to make meals those who are in need to be distributed at mobile food pantry sites. Seniors and school children are supplied with meals by county agencies. Food banks and pantries are also open throughout the option as are smaller church-run and neighborhood pantries. An extensive list of these can be found at: https://www.aacounty.org/coronavirus/food/.
Bethany Air in Edgewater is also hosting a food pantry three days a week, MWF from 2-4pm. The pantry is stocked by community donation and is open to anyone who needs it. Owner Tim Zois says drop offs can be arranged, too. (410-956-8756, 171 Mayo Road Edgewater).
Feeding the Heroes on the Front Lines
Our communities continue to support each other in a number of ways. Earlier this month, US Foods brought 300 premade grab-and-go bags of groceries to Hidden Harbor Marina in Deale for restaurant workers in need.
Local police departments, firefighters and hospital staff are receiving meals courtesy of local restaurants.
Employees of Brian Boru in Severna Park, Galway Bay in Annapolis, Killarney House in Davidsonville and Pirates Cove in Galesville have been hard at work preparing and delivering meals to first responders.
What started out just weeks ago as a delivery of 100 meals once a week for medical staff at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis is now up to 200 meals twice a week.
A typical meal for a first responder might be an entree salad with chicken and salmon or a house-made corned beef sandwich.
To support the Community First Responder Meals Fund, go to any of the restaurant’s websites (www.killarneyhousepub.com, www.brianborupub.com, www.galwaybaymd.com, or www.piratescovemd.com) and donate online.
All of the donations received are used to support the fund. More than $27,000 has already been raised.
The Irish restaurants were helping feed their employees as well as front-line workers. Once a week, employees were offered a family meal that feeds four.
Roundtable Relief is also giving first responders and health care workers meals created by local restaurants (https://roundtablerelief.org/).