Local Restaurants get paid to make nutritious meals for food insecure residents.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Brookline Food Pantry has seen a 400% increase in the number of weekly clients seeking food. The Pantry went from serving 150 households per week to over 700 per week. In the Spring of 2020, our favorite restaurants had to change their operations, temporarily shut their doors, lay off staff just to stay afloat. Since customers have returned to indoor dining, restaurants continue to be challenged by staff shortages, higher food prices, steep delivery app rates, and reluctance of some to dine inside.
Restaurants for Brookline was launched in the Spring of 2021, when the Brookline Chamber of Commerce was awarded $60,000 from the State as an earmark by Senator Cynthia Creem, to create and manage a program that we named “Restaurants for Brookline,” to enable restaurants to make meals for food-needy residents.
The Brookline Chamber of Commerce reached out to the Brookline Food Pantry and the Brookline Senior Center and formed a "Restaurants for Brookline Team." The Chamber's role was to create criteria for participation, recruit restaurants, and manage 11 restaurants to make 50 meals per week for seven weeks. The Food Pantry and Senior Center managed pick-ups and deliveries. Irene Li, founder of Mei Mei, provided expertise to help establish criteria for restaurant participation. Restaurants benefited from stable weekly income, and recipients enjoyed restaurant quality meals.
"I am so proud to witness this program's success in Brookline," said Sen. Creem. “It is wonderful to see how it is helping our restaurants through this difficult period, while also providing relief to those experiencing food insecurity throughout the community."
When funding was spent, the Chamber, Food Pantry, and Senior Center initiated a fundraising campaign to manage Restaurants for Brookline for another round. A generous grant from the Brookline Community Foundation and individual contributions enabled us to replicate the program.
“The Brookline Community Foundation is proud to support Restaurants for Brookline through a grant from our Safety Net Fund. We're grateful this innovative, creative partnership between local nonprofits and restaurants will continue providing delicious, healthy meals for the Brookline community.” - Meghan Guidry, Communications Director, Brookline Community Foundation.
A third Restaurants for Brookline occurred in the Spring of 2021 due to the generosity of another earmark from State Senator Cynthia Creem. This time the Brookline Teen Center was included for Friday evening suppers.
We are delighted to announce that the Chamber will be managing another round due to a recent State earmark, in addition to managing four new rounds within the 2023 to 2024 time frame thanks to AARPA funding.
Restaurants have include: Anatolia Kebab House, Bar Cino, Curds & Co, Grainne O'Malley's, Hemlock Grill, Jin's Fine Asian Cuisine Sushi Bar, La Morra, La Voile, Livite, Michael's Deli, Paris Creperie, Pho Lemongrass, Punch Bowl, Rifrullo, The Brookline Pizza Spa, and Zaftigs.
All Brookline restaurants will have an opportunity to apply and participate in the future. Please support Brookline restaurants. Dine in, pick up, or purchase gift cards. Treat yourself tonight!