Three weeks ago Pints & Union (114 E. Market, New Albany) was awarded a “Grant for Good” and joined around 20+ other restaurants nationwide that comprise the front line of the LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Workers Relief Program effort.
According to Jamie Yeager, Pints&union’s volunteer and relief coordinator, the pub’s outreach began immediately following the implementation of pandemic business restrictions (in Indiana, on March 16).
Yeager explained in an e-mail:
“Before the official quarantine, and before we knew what was about to unfold in our community and beyond, Joe (Phillips) and I were handing out grocery boxes for single mothers in Southern Indiana as a response to the numerous layoffs, furloughs, and firings resulting from Covid-19.
“This ‘no questions asked’ approach to serving those in need catapulted our tiny relief program into the spotlight thanks to a grant from the LEE Initiative Restaurant Workers Relief program, co-founded by Chef Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek and focused on providing food and basic necessities to out-of-work service industry folks.
“Once the ‘stay at home’ orders were enacted in Kentucky and Indiana, we knew it was time to kick our relief efforts into high gear. I started contacting Indiana breweries, larger companies with dedicated donation teams, and bulk food distributors for monetary and food donations.
“Also immediately, Samtec (an electronic parts supplier) and McFarling Foods (Indianapolis) jumped at the opportunity to offer us resources. Samtec matched our initial grant, and McFarling Foods sent a truckload of food from Indianapolis to feed the masses! Creation Gardens/What Chefs Want also has been on board from the beginning.
“We are fortunate enough to now be able to offer (nearly) contact-less pick-up grocery items through our alley, three days each week. The only requirements are an ID and pay stub, and persons and families in need can be on their way with fresh produce, frozen goods, bread, and — as needed — baby and hygiene items. We are here to serve Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.”
In an article last week at the News and Tribune, Pints&union’s owner Joe Phillips said others have pitched into the relief effort.
In addition to food and monetary donations, (the pub has) received other forms of support from the community. Orange Clover in Jeffersonville recently provided them with a freezer, and MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in New Albany lets Pints & Union use its kitchen when needed, according to Phillips.
Phillips said seeing small, independent restaurants rallying together to support their communities been a source of hope amid the pandemic, and he is grateful for the support Pints & Union has received from both the LEE Initiative and those in the Southern Indiana community.
For information about donating, go here.
(Full disclosure: I’m employed at Pints&union as the beer manager)