PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Food insecurity is impacting more people as the coronavirus has forced businesses and offices to close.
Restaurants and bars are among the hardest hit, and so are the employees.
Bridges & Bourbon in downtown Pittsburgh opened 9 months ago and has been impacted.
“In fact, our last two months, have been our best,” said Scott Shaffer, managing partner of Bridges & Bourbon.
The modern cocktail bar/restaurant grew to 15 employees, and now there’s only two after Allegheny County’s closure of dine-in services due to coronavirus precautions.
But even in this fragile time, the restaurant is trying to help.
“We thought, why waste all this food? This is an opportunity for us to give back to our community, even though we are in rough shape right now as well,” Shaffer said.
412 Food Rescue is creating a connection from downtown to Uptown.
The fresh food is picked up and delivered to Centre Avenue Housing, a 67-bed facility for men who’ve lost jobs or are homeless.
“We have an abundance of stuff. We can feed more. It brings tears to my eyes because we are so overly grateful to 412,” said Douglas Williams, housing program coordinator at Centre Avenue Housing.
The agency says after the Hill House closed and now coronavirus, the community need is great.
“People and families who weren’t in need before may be in need now because people are losing their jobs,” said Leah Lizarondo, CEO and co-founder of 412 Food Rescue.
Eliminating food insecurity is what 412 Food Rescue does.
They’re scrambling to figure out how to help the most vulnerable. With senior centers closed, 412 is considering door-to-door deliveries.
They’re also concerned about kids.
“So what we’re trying to do is compliment the PPS effort by activating sites in neighborhoods that may be challenged in terms of walkability for children and creating new distribution sites,” said Lizarondo.
The bars and restaurants are closed altogether but many want to do something to help others right now.
The restaurant owner we spoke to says they’re offering employees with no work free meals and referring them to a charity helping service employees.
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More about 412 Food Rescue can be found here.