Community advocate Dimple Willabus, a Guyanese-American, is volunteering her time to deliver food to frontline workers in partnership with local restaurants, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Willabus said she had reached out to several small business owners, and recently received her first set of meals, thanks to Bellyful Restaurant and Bar, owner Jamaican Kemar Blake, who she partnered with to donate meals to police officers of the NYPD 63rd Precinct in Brooklyn.
Blake, a recent Caribbean Life Impact awardee who uses personal occasions such as his birthday and major holidays to feed the homeless all across Brooklyn, jumped at the opportunity to give back, and donated classic Jamaican food of peas and rice with veggie, ital stew, jerk chicken, and fish dinners, to some of the 50 officers who have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight.
“It is fulfilling to know that God has put you in a position to not just help yourself, but to extend that help to someone else,” said Blake who also delivered food to Flatbush Muse and Kings Brook Jewish medical Center.
He and family members donated meals to the Men’s Shelter on Rogers and Atlantic avenues, and Kings Country Hospital, with dietary options that everyone appreciated, he said.
Bellyful Restaurant, located at 2102 Utica Ave. in Mill Basin, followed sState recommended required operating hours when the coronavirus pandemic started, but due to demands, has opened every day from 11:30 am.
“We never took a day off, we have been opened every day,” said Blake who thanked his dedicated kitchen and front house staff, who, while practicing social distancing, have put their lives on the line to serve the community.
The restaurant that takes online orders (bellyfulnyc.com) closes at 10 pm, Sunday – Thursday, and 11:30 pm, Friday and Saturday, a schedule that will remain in place, until the full opening of the community.
Willabus also partnered with Fontanas Restaurant, The Originals Pizza Inc. to serve members of the NYPD 71 Precinct and Mount Sinai Brooklyn, and collaborated with Victory Assembly Church of God, to deliver Fresh Direct boxes of food donated by office of Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, as part of her community outreach.
“People are stressed and hurting because of the lost of family members and friends, some people are sick at home, but I am healthy, so I have to take up the role to help my community,” said the volunteer, who is concerned that food pantries in the community are closed.
She understands why many more business owners could not partner with her initiative that aimed to ultimately help small businesses to rebound. She, however, will continue do her part, and thanked Bellyful and others who donated.