Despite struggles, Manayunk restaurants donate hundreds of holiday meals

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The small businesses and restaurants that line Main Street in Manayunk are all struggling to survive, but this holiday season they're still giving back.

"When you're actually cooking and putting food in people's hands, it's a great thing. We get all kinds of thank you notes on pieces of paper from many elderly people on the hill who still have things they need," said Bruce Cooper, who owns Jake's and Cooper's Wine Bar.

Cooper's staff spent the weekend making 150 holiday meals to donate.

The task was mirrored across the street at Taqueria Amor. This is the 25th year of "Manayunk Meals and More."

"The lights were dim at one point. Everybody was nervous, everybody was struggling with what's happening around us, but I think the community got together and they support this town for sure," said Tim Spinner, the owner and chef.

The restaurants got support too. The Manayunk Development Corporation helped secure a grant to cover the cost of the food. Volunteers from North Light Community Center picked up the more than 700 meals to be sorted to give to people in need.

"There are so many people that are just struggling... they have food insecurities, food insufficiencies and this is just one way the community the restaurants, community center can help out," said Jay Johnson, a volunteer.

Inside the community center, the meals are sorted and assigned to a driver who will hand-deliver the food to a neighbor in need. Food pantry use in Manayunk is up more than 20% since the pandemic began and for some neighbors, this could be the only hot meal they get this week.

"This neighborhood always comes together, they're always willing to support one another, the restaurants the small businesses the individuals here do a lot to support north light and to make sure other people in the community have what they need to be successful," said Krista Weider, the executive director.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.