BETHLEHEM — A Glenmont family has set up a so-called drive-thru at the intersection of Feura Bush and Jefferson roads to offer free dinners to people every sunny weekend from 12 to 2 p.m. and to spread neighborly kindness amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents Jonathan and Lindsay Wagner and their children Maggie, 16, Makayla, 8, and Brady, 6, began giving away 100 free Ziti dinners on Saturday, March 21. As the family sat outside with a table full of to-go dinners, they were grateful that many passers-by stopped — including a Bethlehem Police Department officer who helped with traffic — to inquire what was going on and took many dinners home, all while maintaining distance.
“We gave them away for free and a lot of people gave donations as well,” said Lindsay, adding that she posted about the drive-thru on her Facebook page to help get the word out. “It was really awesome that from our Facebook post, others posted about it on other pages.”
She continued, “A woman in Troy, who didn’t have a car and was desperately in need of dinners, reached out and we drove out and dropped off 14 dinners because there were eight people in her house. There was also a couple in need in Albany that we delivered to because we still had at least 10 dinners left to give.”
Lindsay said they originally set up their drive-thru on Jefferson Road but realized not many people were passing or driving by there; they then decided to move to the aforementioned intersection which had more traffic.
“We got the idea from watching the news and seeing what’s going on in the world,” she said. “It was an idea to offer for local families, including the elderly who especially need meals, but still practice social distancing. It’s no questions asked. If anyone’s in need who can’t make their own food themselves or can’t go get groceries or not have enough, we’ve set it up so people could safely come and pick up dinners.”
She added that her family makes the dinners from home and she purchased food containers from Amazon. “My kids also drew messages like ‘Enjoy’ and decorated the food covers. My daughter, Makayla, drew art on them,” she said.
Looking ahead, Lindsay said her family wants to continue giving away free dinners at the drive-thru “as long as the need is there. I’m thinking of reaching out to local businesses like McCarroll’s or restaurants about using their supplies to make the food. But I want to be conscious of not taking away supplies from people who need them too.”
She also wants to change it up and try making different types of dinners, like spaghetti and meatballs.
She concluded that during this challenging time, “It’s just all about acts of kindness and we want to pass it along to the community. It’s been a great thing to see. I’ve never lived through anything like this before and it’s amazing to see the community come together like this.”
Photos by Tom Heffernan Sr. / Special to Spotlight News
The Crossings last weekend (Jim Franco/Spotlight News.com)
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