Corbin Cares: Joint community effort will feed those in need, on front lines
The Darien Foundation, in cooperation with The Community Fund of Darien, PG Properties and Food Rescue U.S., has fast tracked a $75,000 grant to Corbin Cares, a new fundraiser launched over the weekend by David Genovese of Baywater Properties and Penny Glassmeyer of PG Properties.
On Saturday, Genovese described these efforts as a “win/win/win.”
“When this crisis first started to become apparent, we were first worried about our health, and the health of our families and friends — then we worried about how the businesspeople were going to be impacted,” Genovese said.
Those interested can visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/corbin-cares-2 to donate.
As the situation changed more rapidly, Genovese learned of an effort being made in Westport via a GoFundMe campaign. Food for the Front Lines, a fundraiser in Westport, is working with former Food Rescue US employee Nicole Straight to deliver meals to first responders on the front lines.
Corbin Cares was launched Saturday morning and, including the $75,000, has already raised nearly $114,000, exceeding the $100,000 goal. The goal has now been raised to $200,000.
With local restaurants closed except for take-out and delivery, and financial instability looming for an increasing number in the community due to the coronavirus pandemic, several Darien businesses, nonprofits and town agencies have created a solution to address food insecurity for residents of Darien and those in surrounding communities in need.
The joint effort will fund, organize and provide ready-to-eat, healthy and safely prepared meals from local restaurants to Darien seniors in need, residents referred by Darien’s Department of Human Services, and local nonprofits that feed the hungry of Fairfield County.
“We are coordinating the delivery of meals to the hospitals — to the exhausted and stressed doctors, nurses, orderlies and aides,” he said.
Genovese said this effort helps those at the hospitals, while also giving the community something positive to focus on. It also helps supplement the restaurants that have been impacted by the lack of dining in.
Darien restaurants are doing a decent takeout business, but this effort gives them additional business to help sustain them, according to Genovese.
The project, which has the support of Darien’s Department of Public Health and the First Selectman’s office, is expected to begin later this week. The funds will be disbursed to eateries including Bodega Taco Bar, Ten Twenty Post, Bistro Baldanza, Four Forks, Jake's Place and Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe. Their meals will then be transported by Food Rescue US to local social service agencies in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford that are providing for individuals and families that are food insecure. Donations of $5 will provide breakfast, $15 will buy a boxed lunch and $20 will supply a healthy dinner. Contributions can be made through the Corbin Cares page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/corbin-cares-2
“Angela [Baldanza] and I are honored to be involved in such a noble endeavor,” said Sandy Baldanza of Bistro Baldanza.
Carol Shattuck of Food Rescue US told The Darien Times the company was launched in 2011 to connect food waste from places like corporate cafeterias and schools with those who were food insecure.
She echoed Genovese by saying this is a win for restaurants dealing with indoor dining closings and for those who are on the front lines in hospitals or those who are struggling to eat during the pandemic.
Genovese said, “The incredible support for Corbin Cares received from our community, The Darien Foundation and The Community Fund of Darien demonstrate the astounding generosity of those around us. My partner, Penny Glassmeyer, and I are proud to have initiated this program, which will provide thousands of meals during this crisis for healthcare workers on the front line, as well as those experiencing food insecurity in our community-at-large.”
The program will replace the lunches that were served at the now closed Senior Center with individually boxed lunches that will be distributed under social distance protocols. The program will also provide a robust family-style dinner each week to approximately 75 families who receive assistance from Human Services.
“We have worked closely with town leadership and Corbin Cares to frame how this program could replace the lunch programs no longer available at the senior center and the public schools,” said Sarah Woodberry, the executive director of The Darien Foundation. “Also, our underwriting of Corbin Cares in Darien will allow the monies raised to stretch further throughout our neighboring communities.”
In addition to collaborating with Corbin Cares and Food Rescue US, The Community Fund of Darien will continue to provide the town’s residents in need with emergency assistance for rent, utilities, medical expenses, transportation costs and groceries through its “Touch-A-Life” fund, in cooperation with Human Services.
“During this stressful and uncertain time, the silver lining is finding a way to work together as a community to get food and aid to those in need from generous neighbors who care,” noted Janet King, the organization’s executive director.
Darien residents in need should contact Human Services at 203-656-7328 or email Ali Ramsteck, director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.