More than 25 New York City real estate firms have joined together in an effort to support healthcare workers, small businesses and their employees, and people experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Real Estate Has Your Back” campaign has already provided 3,000 meals to healthcare workers and residents of NYCHA housing with thousands more in the way.
This week they provided 250 hot lunches at the Queensbridge Houses, building on the work of LIC Relief, which has been serving the community since the outbreak began. It will continue to fund meals to the Ravenswood, Woodside and Astoria Houses as well.
“We’re just getting started,” Real Estate Has Your Back Founder Seth Weissman said. “In addition to sending meals to people on the front lines, we are focused on supporting small business tenants and their employees to keep as many people employed as possible during this crisis. The goal is to help communities impacted by this crisis by delivering food to those in need while supporting local restaurant businesses and their employees hardest hit by the quarantine.”
The efforts of Long Island City community leaders have been critical to the success of the program, particularly Bishop Mitchell Taylor, the co-founder and CEO of Urban Upbound, and Kelly Craig and Patrick Thompson, the co-founders of LIC Relief. They were joined by community leader and candidate for New York State Senate Iggy Terranova of Astoria.
“As we work to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s more important than ever that we come out and help our neighbors,” Terranova said. “When I heard about the need for greater food distribution, I knew I had to act. I’m proud to have partnered with our local leaders and businesses to find a solution to this issue and deliver for our community when they need it most.”
The hot lunches were prepared by Neuman’s Kitchen Events and Catering (NK), a New York City and Philadelphia-based catering company with a presence in Long Island City.
“The coronavirus hit the catering industry like a tsunami. Overnight, companies like NK went from employing hundreds of people to employing virtually no one,” NK Chief Inspiration Officer Paul Neuman said. “Our goals are to provide healthy and nutritious food to communities in need, provide employment for our employees, and say thanks to the people who make NYC and Philadelphia great places to live and work. We’re trying to bring a flicker of light to the darkness.”
Rob Basch, a member of the bard of LIC Relief and president of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, said, “As a long-time resident of Long Island City, it is very rewarding to me that we both can provide hot delicious meals to our neighbors in need and support many of our great local restaurants.”
Weissman’s #RHasYourBack has set up a GoFundMe account to encourage further financial support from the real estate community to ensure this important outreach lasts as long as possible. You can visit their page here.