Log In

Reset Password

Restaurant Support Effort Spurs Big Donation For FAITH



Text Size

A brief ceremony on the chilly, windswept afternoon of March 15 culminated a nearly year-long cooperative effort among local individuals, nonprofits, municipal, and service agencies to connect food provided by local restaurants struggling during the earlier stages of the pandemic with frontline workers and Newtown residents facing food insecurity.

After all was said and done, co-organizer Matthew Rahtelli handed over $6,496 and change to FAITH Food Pantry, which was also the recipient of shelves full of food and household goods donations, also coordinated by participants in the initiative, appropriately dubbed Newtown Helping Hands.

According to Rahtelli, the effort was conceived to assist others due to challenges they faced because of COVID 19.

“We created an initiative designed to get food in the hands of the elderly, at risk, and struggling families that concurrently supports the local restaurant community,” the promotional message read on the effort’s internet funding site. “Through this effort, meals will be purchased from local restaurants for struggling Newtown residents/families. We will also provide a free grocery shopping and delivery service for Newtown seniors (60+) and those at risk to leave their homes.”

Meal and grocery deliveries are still being provided by volunteers.

Among the supporting local organizations were the local American Legion Post, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, Newtown Chamber of Commerce, FONS (Friends of Newtown Seniors), the local Interfaith Council, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, Real Food Share, Rotary Club, Newtown Human Services Department, Whitsons Culinary Group, and WIN (Women Involved In Newtown).

The following restaurants supported the initiative: Bagel Delight, Blue Colony Diner, Burrito Shack, Butcher’s Best Country Market, Carl Anthony’s of Monroe, Carminuccio’s Pizzas & Subs, Chef Micah Foote, Farmhouse, Figs Wood Fired Bistro, Foundry Kitchen and Tavern, Franco’s Pizza & Pasta, the Newtown General Store, Market Place Kitchen & Bar, Misty Vale Deli, My Place Restaurant, Nouveau Monde, Project Pizza, Roberto’s of Monroe, Tambascio’s Italian Grill, and Toro Restaurant.

During the program, monies raised were used to purchase food and meals from area restaurants, and the donation check represented 100 percent of the amount of funds remaining after the initial purchase/delivery segment of the project ended.

Rahtelli said the cash donation to FAITH Food Pantry, “will assist in the continuation of essential food relief in Newtown.” To facilitate a non-taxable donation benefit, donated funds were made through the 501(c)(3) organization of the Newtown Knights of Columbus called “At Our Gate.”

As the efforts continue, interested residents or food businesses may visit the Facebook group “Newtown Helping Hands” to stay up to date on this initiative. Updates are also available at newtown-restaurants.com.

Sign up for a mailing list on the website to get alerts/announcements about this initiative, and other ways to lend a helping hand of your own.

Resident Matthew Rahtelli, center, hands off a check for $6,496.21 during a brief ceremony at FAITH Food Pantry on March 15, representing proceeds from Newtown Helping Hands, a project he coordinated with multiple local service organizations during the earlier stages of the pandemic. He was joined by Newtown Human Services Director Natalie Jackson, Newtown Rotary representative Alex Villamil, Eileen Marchese, Women Involved In Newtown (WIN) co-founder Mandy Monaco, FAITH Food Pantry volunteer Jill LeBlanc (receiving check), First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, and Newtown Lions Club representatives Oscar De Los Santos and Katherine Simpson, along with St Rose Knights of Columbus members Guy Mascolo and John Miodonka. —Bee Photo, Voket
One of the multiple social network graphic created by the Newtown Helping Hands cooperative showcased how the effort was uniting local restaurants with folks in the community facing hunger, and how residents could support the effort.
Elizabeth Siemon, co-owner of Franco’s Pizza and Pasta — which participated in the Newtown Helping Hands cooperative service effort — delivers pizzas to front line workers at Newtown Rehabilitation. The Helping Hands program accepted donations to underwrite purchases from struggling Newtown restaurants, and provided the bounty of meals to local front line workers and those in the community facing food insecurity. — photo courtesy Matthew Rahtelli
Along with monetary support, the Newtown Helping hands effort also amassed food and household needs donations that were presented to FAITH Food Pantry along with a check representing surplus funds from the initiative totaling over $6,496. — photo courtesy Matthew Rahtelli
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply