With the country at an almost standstill amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a young Jamaican entrepreneur has taken the initiative in providing free meals, “with love,” to families in New York City and neighboring New Jersey.
Not wanting to standby and do nothing, as residents are desperately trying to find ways to cope, Tashany Brown, who is also a young mother and graduate student, told Caribbean Life on Monday that she “decided to give back to her community” through her love for cooking.
“I really want to cater to people who are not able to go outside and join the long lines for free food programs,” she said. “We have people who are at a disadvantage, because they cannot join the free food pantry lines or free food giveaways.
“Some people cannot make those lines because of disabilities and/or because they are elderly and have underlying conditions, because of fear of getting COVID-19,” Brown added. “So, those people who ware unable to go out, we want to reach out to them by providing these free meals.
“We don’t want to forget the moms who lost their jobs or people who are on HRA (Human Resource Administration) aid, because they don’t get it (aid) in a timely manner,” she continued. “And ordering out could be costly.”
Hence, recognizing this need, Brown said she decided to form a local food program, Meals Xo.
She said Meals Xo serves meals to families in parts of New York City and neighboring New Jersey free of cost.
Currently, Brown said personally she serves New York City and Hudson County, N; while fellow cook, Danielle Dawson, also a young entrepreneur, mom and wife, serves Essex County, NJ and surrounding areas.
Both women, with the help of other local cooks and volunteer delivery services, prepare and deliver the meals on Sundays.
Brown, who also operates two business, said each cook prepares for three families.
“It is a pleasure taking a couple hours on Sundays to assist the families,” she said.
Brown said Dawson saw her promoting the program, asking folks to nominate a family in need of assistance, and decided that she, too, would “love to prepare and deliver these healthy meals.”
“So far, it has been a positive experience,” Brown said. “Families are grateful for the meals and (are) raving about it online.
“All requests for meals must be made Monday through Wednesday,” she added. “As we get more certified cooks on board, we’ll increase the areas (to serve).”
If the community wants to donate to the program, nominate a family in need, or cooks want to volunteer, they can email at [email protected].
You can also follow Meals Xo on Facebook and Instagram.