Princeton, NJ — Tuesday, May 5, 2020 — Share My Meals, a Princeton NJ based organization, is purchasing 300 meals per day from Princeton restaurants to distribute to people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.
Founded in January 2020, the Share My Meals original model involved rescuing and distributing healthy cooked meals from corporate cafeterias and universities to people in need. When the pandemic forced businesses to close, Share My Meals shifted to a new model, partnering with Princeton restaurants and purchasing meals for the cost of goods.
More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus outbreak began, and food insecurity is one of the most common of its many side effects. The COVID-19 pandemic is straining families’ abilities to afford basic needs, and the African American and Latino populations have been the hardest hit overall.
“On the one hand, our source of meals disappeared overnight,” explains Isabelle Lambotte, Share My Meals President and Co-Founder. “On the other, the number of families in need grew exponentially. We decided to call on donors to continue providing healthy meals while allowing restaurant owners to keep some of their staff to cook for the growing number of food-insecure persons in Princeton.”
Share My Meals launched with 15 families in its program; currently, it has grown to serve over 60 families and continues to grow. Every day, the organization’s volunteers facilitate the distribution of 300 meals from three restaurants in Princeton. Recipients of the Share My Meals programs range from families eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch of Princeton Public Schools to senior citizens.
Patty Yates, a recipient of Share My Meals and President of the Clay Street, Maple Terrace and Franklin Avenue Resident Council neighborhoods in Princeton, NJ says, “There are not enough words to even say how much all the residents appreciate these meals. It took us a while here to take the situation seriously. It is just sad. We can’t go to church. We can’t enjoy each other. I guess we should just be grateful to be alive.”
Amanda Maher and her husband Amar Gautam had just launched The Meeting House, a new restaurant in Princeton. Then the Coronavirus struck. “Amar and I were having a conversation about closing down the restaurant and doing takeout,” Amanda recalls. “We’d decided that we were going to provide meals for our employees throughout the period. Then Amar said, ‘wouldn’t it be great to find an organization to partner with’ and then I remembered Share My Meals – We went to Share My Meals website and they were helping the exact people we wanted to help”. Amar adds, “I think it’s a great partnership because I’ve got some talented people and this massive kitchen, we can get food, and Share My Meals knows the people who need it.”
Share My Meals counts a team of 25 volunteers and currently limits its operations to Princeton, where it is partnering with three restaurants: The Meeting House, La Mezzaluna, and Trattoria Procaccini.
About Share My Meals
Share My Meals is a 501(c) (3) organization working to alleviate hunger and food waste through the distribution of reclaimed meals from corporate cafeterias, schools, universities, and restaurants to people experiencing food insecurity in Princeton.
Founded in 2020, Share My Meals is run by volunteers committed to rebalancing the food equation: Less Food Waste = Less Hunger
For more information visit: www.sharemymeals.org.
Board Member Share My Meals
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