Teachers Federal Credit Union has just come through in a huge way for Patchogue restaurants and local hospital workers.
TFCU representatives on Friday presented a $5,000 check to the restaurants in front of PeraBell Food Bar to be used to help feed the frontline workers in the throes of the coronavirus crisis at Stony Brook and Long Island Community hospitals .
A growing list of Patchogue restaurants and their employees have been delivering food daily to the hospitals since Tuesday.
“The credit unions are built on a foundation of people helping people,” said Inna Sprague, TFCU chief experience officer. “This is our way of giving back to the community and helping the people we serve on a daily basis.”
“I think it’s our responsibility to do whatever we can to not only support those people who’ve been deemed essential, but we need to keep other people employed,” she added. “I’m hoping this contributes to that as well.”
The $5,000 will go toward the restaurants’ fundraising efforts, sponsored by GreaterPatchogue.com.
The online fundraiser has already topped $20,000 in less than a week. Click here to donate.
The money is being managed by the Greater Patchogue Foundation, the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce’s nonprofit arm, and will later be distributed to the restaurants so they can pay for the food, staffing, delivery and associated expenses.
The restaurants conceived over the idea this past weekend.
“The Patchogue restaurant committee is a business model like no other, on how competitors can work so well together,” said David Kennedy, the chamber’s executive director. “So cheers to them for everything that they’re doing for this community.
“They love this community. And they give back so much.”
Also on hand Friday were PeraBell owners Scottie Campbell and John Peragine, who conceived of the fundraiser, James Gilroy of Fulton’s Gate, a participating restaurant (full list below), and Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri.
“Because this is a direct contribution to the restaurant committee’s program, every dime of this stays right here in Patchogue,” Pontieri said. “And the Teachers Federal Credit Union understands this, and they are committed to this community.”
Gilroy and the other restaurant owners — which have thus far been doing everything out of pocket — themselves expressed amazement at how quickly they were able to mobilize.
That, and amazement at the financial support they’ve received TFCU and everyday community members who have been chipping in.
“It’s one thing to be able to work together,” Gilroy said. “It’s another thing to be able to pull it together as fast as this well oil machine of our restaurant group is doing.”
Of course, it also feels good to help.
While the hospitals have their own cafeterias, the restaurant trays serve as a huge morale boost to staffers. Not only because of the quality and variety of food, but the daily reminder from the outside world that people are thinking about their neighbors who are putting their lives at risk.
“I dropped off at Brookhaven Memorial yesterday,” said Campbell. “And they were so appreciative. We were doing virtual hugs. We’re getting the food out, and it’s been so organized and such a great effort.
“To be at the hospitals and see the impact first hand, that does it for me. I want to make every delivery now just to get that feeling.”
The contributing restaurants include Perabell Food Bar, Donatina Neapolitan Pizza Café, Bobbique, Village Idiot Pub, Fulton’s Gate, James Joyce, The Oar Steak & Seafood Grille, That Meetball Place, Hoshi Hibachi & Sushi, The Hero Joint, Arooga’s, and Kilwins.
Caption (L-R) Tariq Ijaz, the Patchogue TFCU branch’s financial services manager, Casey Dill, a financial services representative, PeraBell Food Bar owners John Peragine and Scottie Campbell (holding check), TFCU’s chief experience officer Inna Sprague, TFCU marketing manager Jennifer Gunn, Mayor Paul Pontieri and the chamber’s executive director, David Kennedy (Michael White)