PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Local nonprofits and businesses struggling to survive during the COVID-19 crisis are now working together to support one another as well as the community.
The coronavirus is forcing charities and businesses alike to get creative in order to survive and serve. “We literally went back to the drawing board and said how can we feed 4,000 people a day when we can’t run a kitchen that prepares the food?" said Steve Zabilski, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul.
Social distancing meant foregoing the 200 volunteers a day it takes for St. Vincent de Paul to serve the homeless population in Phoenix. “We soon realized there are restaurants out that can do this. They have the capability, they have the capacity and they have the people,” said Zabilski.
St. Vincent de Paul forged a partnership with 16 local restaurants that prepare and package the food, purchased at a discount by St. Vincent de Paul. Creating an opportunity to preserve the philanthropic mission and the bottom line of small businesses on the brink. “We brought back our employees for four days a week we were able to pay our utilities which was a god send and keep going,” said Mary Rose Wilcox with El Portal. The meals, purchased at a discount, are a lifeline for the restaurants and the hungry. “These are family type restaurants that have been supporting us for so many years so when we can help support them and their employees, again our guests just love the food that we are purchasing,” said Zabilski.
The Arizona Diamondbacks also stepped up to the plate with additional funding. “We were worried about our corporate partners about all of our small businesses our local businesses and being able to partner with St. Vincent de Paul to deliver quality food, very timely and quickly so they can feed the population in Phoenix meant a lot to us,” said Debbie Castaldo, Senior Vice President Corporate Community Impact for the Diamondbacks. In meant a lot to the business owners too. “We are being helped by the Diamondbacks and St Vincent de Paul because they have a need to be able to stay in business and that is what we want, we all survive out of this,” said Rick Peterson of Streets of New York. Restaurant partners across the Valley include Ajo Al's Mexican Cafe, Barro's Pizza, Chick-fil-A, Chompies, Original ChopShop, Detroit Coney Grill, El Portal Mexican Restaurant, Ginger Monkey, Little Caesars, Raising Cane's, R. T. O'Sullivan’s, Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants, Spokes on Southern, Straight to the Plate Catering, Streets of New York, Subway and Wildflower Bread Company.
Donations to SVdP’s COVID-19 Relief Fund make this partnership possible, which is an increased cost from SVdP’s typical budget, but the nonprofit believes the benefits to the community far outweigh the added cost. To learn more or to help SVdP provide relief, visit www.stvincentdepaul.net/COVID19Relief.