NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, CBS2 told you about “Feed the Frontlines NYC.”
It was launched to feed health care workers, but also to keep restaurants open.READ MORE: Vaccine Mandate For NYC Teachers, Department Of Education Workers Put On Hold By Federal Judge
The effort has grown, delivering more than 80,000 meals. Reporter Jenna DeAngelis checked back in with the family behind it all earlier this week.
Close to Luca Di Pietro’s heart is his restaurant group Tarallucci e Vino, and, of course, his family. He’s bringing his two loves together to take care of those putting their lives on the line.
“At the beginning, it was just how do we help our restaurant survive and how do we help health care workers on the front lines and now it has grown into something so much more,” Kate Di Pietro said.
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CBS2 met the Di Pietro family when they first began this movement in March. It started with a friend reaching out after hearing the family closed four of five restaurants, keeping the Upper West Side location open for take-out and deliveries.
“We had to let go of about 95 people,” Luca Di Pietro sad. “It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.”
“She said, ‘I really wanna help. I’d like to buy meals, but I’d like to have them delivered to a hospital,'” Kate Di Pietro said.
That big donation turned into a big idea, which Luca then ran by his son, Jan, and daughter, Isabella.
With a friend’s help, a website quickly went live. In one day it raised $12,000.READ MORE: Gabby Petito's Father Announces Creation Of Gabby Petito Foundation Ahead Of Public Memorial Service
Fast forward to today. More than $1 million has been donated, resulting in nearly 80,000 meals being sent to hospitals … and counting.
“Not only nourishing but comforting and I think everyone could use some comfort right now,” Isabella Di Pietro said.
Including Isabella, a Harvard student, whose senior year got cut short. But she decided rather than finish online, she’d take a leave of absence to focus on this with her family.
“If I could do something right now for a problem that’s so acute, I should certainly do that over sitting in class. That’s something I can go back to later,” she said.
The “Harvard family,” her mom’s former lacrosse teammates, launched Feed the Frontlines NYC in their communities from Boston to Boulder.
“We’re joking we’re kind of passing the ball across the country,” Kate Di Pietro said.
And back here at home, Luca Di Pietro brought back 40 employees, also involving 17 other city restaurants, doing the same.
“They want to get back to work. They want to feed their families,” Luca Di Pietro said. “It has been heartwarming for us. Our staff is coming back and we are feeding nurses and doctors.”
The organization has expanded its outreach beyond the front lines, now delivering to those who are food insecure and helping to feed the city one person and one meal at a time.MORE NEWS: Gov. Kathy Hochul Increases Pressure On COVID Vaccine Holdouts As Deadline For Health Care Workers Approaches
If you want to donate to Feed the Frontlines NYC, please click here.