ITHACA, N.Y. –– Inspired by similar initiatives around the country to support restaurant owners and their staffs, the Rotary Club of Ithaca has launched its own version of a “Socially Connected – Safely Distanced” Supper Club.
On Friday evening, Rotarians placed orders to go from Coltivare, a farm-to-table bistro that – like most other restaurants – has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to mid-March, it also hosted the service club’s weekly luncheon meetings and has played a key role in some of Rotary’s largest fundraisers, including the Dozen Dinner Draw (DDD) to benefit hurricane relief efforts and international safe water projects.
Jason Sidle, Ithaca Rotarian and general manager of Coltivare, said he was ‘over the top’ in his appreciation for the club’s willingness to put “Tastes of Gorges” together to support local restaurants in need.
Dozens of restaurants have supported Rotary’s Dozen Dinner Draw fundraiser since 2018. A full list can be found at www.Rotarydozendinnerdraw.org.
“The idea is to show our support for a different DDD sponsor each week,” said Club Secretary Joanne Lamoureux. “Even though many of these restaurants have been offering curbside meals-to-go for several weeks, their business is no where near pre-COVID levels.”
Lamoureux is spearheading the Ithaca Rotary Club’s newly-formed Pandemic Response Group, which has identified food security as a primary community-wide need in the wake of COVID-19.
“At this point, we are looking to help distribute and donate food in support of the Ithaca Salvation Army,” said Lamoureux. “They also need volunteers to help prepare an estimated 400 meals served each weekend. Rotarians, by nature, are people of action. Our motto is ‘Service Above Self.’ This is what we do.”
The Ithaca Rotary Club has continued to meet weekly, albeit virtually via zoom. For more information, visit www.ithacarotary.com.