In the midst of crisis, partnerships seem to unfold like winter into spring, and that’s exactly the case for Square Deli owner Chris Moreira and Councilor Gerly Adrien.
Over the last two weeks, since the COVID-19 response began, both have been trying to help feed and supply senior citizens in the community. It was only natural that their paths crossed.
“I reached out to Gerly and I had never actually met her before, but I saw on social media how active she was in the community,” said Moreira. “Obviously with the virus, no one knew what to expect. I knew it would be a deluge for everyone, including small businesses. We wanted to give back and do our part.”
Three weeks ago, Adrien got a phone call from a senior citizen who asked for more information on the crisis – saying that there weren’t many people in senior housing that had a good idea of what was happening or what to do. She said that resident also told her many were short on necessities like toiletries.
Adrien and her husband, David Lindsey, began assembling care packages with toothpaste, toilet paper, soap and other essentials. Using volunteers in a careful manner, they quickly handed out 40 care packages on doors for the seniors. They did another 50 packages for Glendale Towers as well.
One person, she said, needed bottled water and didn’t have it, which gave birth to the idea of raising money for grocery gift cards.
That’s the time when Moreira got involved.
“Chris and I talked it out and he said he wanted to provide a hot meal with the next round of care packages, and he could also provide the toilet paper,” she said. “I knew they would love that.”
So, on Saturday, March 28, they spent five hours delivering a meal of stuffed shells to 40 residents of senior housing with a care package as well – which contained grocery cards and toiletries donated by EnVision Hotel.
“I think it was so amazing for Chris, as a small business owner, to want to partner up with me,” she said. “We all know how small business has been affected and he wouldn’t let me reimburse him at all. He wanted it to be from his heart.”
Moreira said he has talked with Councilor Michael McLaughlin about joining the effort, and he has committed to doing another round with Adrien when the time is right.
“We’re open to doing this one time a week – 50 meals each time,” he said. “We’ll gladly do that one time a week with a partner.”
Moreira said they have been very busy since the COVID-19 response happened because they were contracted by the City to provide 400 meals per day for the elderly – meals that are distributed by Dale Palma a the Connolly Center.
“We’ve not really been able to open the day-to-day business because this is consuming us,” he said. “We are still open. We’re grateful for our customers. People are supporting us and it’s the least we can do.”
Added Adrien, “I’m excited we’re all able to help together.”