As the weather warms up and vaccines continue to roll out, spirits are higher than ever. It remains important though, to stay cognizant of members of local communities that are still struggling, with food insecurity issues.
It’s times like these when the industry needs to come together to support its neighbors. Thankfully, Restaurant Depot Rochester (NY) has teamed up with charity BluePrint of Geneva, NY to do just that.
The nonprofit organization BluePrint Geneva, founded in 2016, has been working nonstop to support their local community, with work in housing insecurity, food drives, tax preparation, composting, and more. “When BluePrint asked me last year if I’d be interested in creating a program to provide meals for the people in our community, it was a no brainer,” said upstate chef and now BluePrint board member Samantha Buyskes. “It was such an incredible opportunity to give back to the same community that’s given me so much.” Now, Buyskes and BluePrint are taking it one step further with the help of the restaurant industry’s cash & carry icon Restaurant Depot to battle food insecurity.
During the month of April, Restaurant Depot Rochester and BluePrint have collaborated to provide 75 comprehensive boxed grocery donations as a complete surprise to families in the Geneva, NY community.
Buyskes is no stranger to helping those in need. As a chef in the Finger Lakes region for over twenty years, she’s worked nonstop to combat food insecurity. “I’ve always had a passion for giving back in a constructive way, and my work in myriad organizations, charities, dinners, and drives has allowed me to do just that. On an even greater note, my role as a Chef allows me to dictate exactly what those in need will be receiving. This means not only do we provide food, we provide nutritious items that would normally be very expensive or scarce. Many hungry families need to resort to unhealthy products or fast food due to monetary constraints, so our aim is to minimize this as best we can.”
“We’re incredibly excited to work with Samantha on this Saturday soup kitchen,” said General Manager of Restaurant Depot Rochester, Burt Diferio. “We came up with a list of items that Samantha deemed necessary for the community, including things like flour, sugar, cereal, and other stable shelf-life items. The goal for each of these boxes is for the recipients to be able to support their families for a substantial amount of time without having to make compromises when it comes to health or money. Samantha will then take these boxes to a storage facility where they will await delivery. We’ve also given Samantha a grant of ten thousand dollars for which she can use to continue supporting her food drive and soup kitchen organization.
Under the guidance of Restaurant Depot president Stanley Fleischman, the BluePrint Geneva program most recent development in ‘Depot’s long history of community support. “Our goal has always been to take care of our customers to the best of our ability, so they in turn can do the same for theirs. We’re all about finding solutions for people, particularly in the midst of the pandemic,” said Diferio. Businesses everywhere have suffered due to the scarcity of many key ingredients and products, forcing operators to take hits to revenue and compromise in other facets of their business.
“The entire foodservice industry has been hit incredibly hard during this pandemic,” Diferio explained. “Many of the restaurants in our community have struggled to stay open and sadly, some of them have closed for good. Our mission here at Restaurant Depot, now and always, has been to help the independent restaurant owner succeed by offering the right products at the right prices to our customers. We are here for our customers 7 days a week and we have no minimums, so a small operation or one who is slowly re-opening, can come and pick up only what they need, when they need it.”
“During these hard times, we also have our public community to think about, and those who are dealing with food insecurities. Over the past year, Restaurant Depot has been working hand in hand with food banks and community organizations all over the nation to get food to people who need it. Teaming up with Chef Samantha and BluePrint seemed like a perfect fit for the Rochester Community.”
Restaurant Depot is a Members-Only Wholesale Cash & Carry Foodservice Supplier. What began as a single store in Queens has grown into the nation’s leading cash & carry brand with stores from coast to coast. Our mission is to be your one-stop shop for Savings, Selection and Service, Seven Days a Week. ‘Depot stores have been supplying independent food businesses with quality products from large cash and carry warehouse stores since 1990. We became the leading low-cost alternative to other foodservice suppliers by eliminating the overhead of a traditional distributor, focusing on the needs of independent foodservice operators and offering free membership. For more information on Restaurant Depot, visit their website.