by Deacon Marty McIndoe

This current COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way we live.  It has brought sickness and death to too many people. Even those who escape the illness suffer in many different ways.

Too many people have lost their jobs and have lost their income. Business and thus the economy are suffering from the quarantine, children can no longer attend school, families and friends can’t get together and people have trouble getting their food and other necessities.

It is a difficult time, but also a time where we see the compassion and the resilience of humanity. I am amazed each day that so many people, such as medical personnel and emergency personnel, and various service personnel risk their lives, and those of their families, to help others.

I am a Catholic Deacon at St. Francis de Sales in Patchogue and have served in Patchogue for over 40 years. I have grown to love my village and the people in it. Patchogue is a great town where there are a large number of restaurants and other food establishments.

One industry that has been hit hard by the quarantine is the restaurant industry. These restaurants have had to close their doors to their eat-in patrons. For Patchogue this is a real difficulty since there are so many privately owned small restaurants.

The profit margin for small restaurants is not that good to begin with and when you take away their eat-in customers, they suffer greatly.

As a deacon I have met many of the restaurant owners. They have, over the years, been very willing to help out several charities that I have worked with. I consider many of the restaurant owners my friends.

Truthfully, I also know them because I enjoy going out to eat. Some of the owners I have known since they were children growing up in my parish. We have some unbelievably good-hearted people in this industry, especially here in Patchogue.

Over and over again they are willing to help out others.

Even though the restaurants are suffering a great financial burden from the quarantine, many of the owners have stepped up to the plate and are providing free meals to the medical staff at several of the hospitals here on Long Island.

They reach out to our local hospital in Patchogue but also over a dozen other hospitals throughout Long Island. None of them do this looking for praise, so I will not mention their names. But I believe that the Patchogue Village community should know that the restaurants are going above and beyond in helping with this crisis that the pandemic quarantine has brought about.

I think that we should do something about it. I know that there are many people who volunteer and help others out, but I think that we should make a concerted effort to help out our restaurants.

I think that we can help them and also help ourselves at the same time. I would suggest that you still patronize our restaurants, but in a different way. Most of our restaurants offer take out and delivery of their food. You can look at their menu online and call or order online. If you don’t want to go and pick it up, you can use a delivery service.

However, note that most of the delivery services charge a considerable amount to the restaurant, so if you can pick it up, do so. Many of the restaurants will bring it out to your car when you call which minimizes your contact with others.

Do you miss going out to a nice restaurant for dinner? I know that I do. Try this instead: Set up your dining room table with a nice table cloth, good dishes and perhaps crystal goblets and a candle. Get a bottle of wine and order from your favorite restaurant.

Go and pick up the food and bring it home and put it on your own good dishes. Put on some nice music and enjoy. You will enjoy your own home-restaurant experience and you will help keep the restaurants going.

Here is another idea that you can try:

Take some of the stress off of your Christmas shopping for this year (it is only eight months away) and buy some gift certificates from the local restaurant and give them as gifts at Christmas or for birthday, anniversary or just because.

People usually don’t need more trinkets for their home and certainly don’t need clothes that fit your taste, but perhaps not theirs. Instead, give them a night out in a restaurant. It is a great gift.

There are so many ways that we can help others through this crisis, but I wanted to share some concerning our restaurant industry. We are a resilient people; we will get through this and let’s hope that we do it with charitable giving and thinking of others.

I believe that we will be a stronger community because of this. Don’t just sit there and wait for this quarantine to end. Do things at home, like praying for its end. Call some of your old friends and see how they are doing. And don’t forget to call our local restaurants and order from them.