Chef recognized for cooking meals for hospital workers

Belkis Crowe is a Long Island woman on a mission to feed frontline workers. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring, you could find her serving up nutritious meals for doctors and nurses at local hospitals.

"I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nurse," she said. "I can't be there saving the world so I was like, 'Let me help them so they have the energy to keep going.'"

The Garden City chef said it was the least she could do.

"They were like 'We have so much food but just pizza, donuts, cookies, nothing home-cooked' and I said, 'I got you,'" Crowe said.

For Belkis, the pandemic hit close to home. She lost her mother-in-law in April.

Prior to the pandemic, the chef cooked twice a week for clients. But she put that business on hold and dedicated six to eight weeks straight to the men and women who so bravely put their lives on the line.

"It was rice, meat, pasta, salad," she said. "Good food and comforting. It was made with love."

Belkis was nominated for the Love Takes Action award and recognized by the New York Life Foundation for going above and beyond to help their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The prize was $50,000 to any charity; she chose Island Harvest Food Bank.

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"I think we've been able to provide about 82,000 meals because of her generosity. It's just unbelievable," Island Harvest Food Bank President and CEO Randi Shubin Dresner.

Belkis prays the worst is behind us but if cases continue to climb, she said she is wholeheartedly ready to help again.

"The minute I hear something they know I'll be there every step of the way," Belkis said.