NEW YORK - It all started with a GoFundMe campaign goal of $10,000.
"The GoFundMe's raised, I think, $130,000," campaign organizer, attorney and former New Castle Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein said, Monday, "and we've spent $100,000."
Greenstein launched this campaign in hopes of funneling a little bit of business to area restaurants struggling to pay their staffs and remain open without their regular flow of sit-down patrons. Initially paying eateries to prepare meals for the elderly, Greenstein soon pivoted to buying meals to deliver to front-line health care workers in Westchester County.
After hitting that initial $10,000 goal, Rob started upping it in increments of $5,000 that soon grew to increments of $10,000. Most recently, he just raised his goal from $100,000 to $150,000.
"Some people are doing it to help feed our heroes on the front line," he said. "Others are doing it to support our local restaurants. And most people are doing it for both reasons."
"Really the sole reason we're open right now is because of that community and how much we've been involved," Quaker Hill Tavern owner Kelly Sullivan said.
Sullivan opened Quaker Hill Tavern 15 years ago.
"Our wings are top-notch," she said.
Kelly also delivered all three of her children at Northern Westchester Hospital and expressed both her appreciation for all of her community's healthcare workers and the pride and duty she feels to serve them some comfort food while they treat those in their community sickened by this global pandemic.
"It means everything to us to be able to be a part of it," she said.
"The hospital workers have been so thankful," Quaker Hill manager and bartender Erin Teter said, "but I'm so thankful because it's helped me to be able to work and provide for my family."
A single mother of two, Erin's worked at the restaurant since Kelly purchased it. On Monday, she admitted she felt very grateful to still have a job.
"It's been pretty stressful," she said.
"Definitely different," Kelly agreed.
"We are trying to do our part," Rob said.
At last check, Rob's $10,000 GoFundMe had raised nearly $130,000, spent $100,000 at 10 local restaurants ("It brings you to tears sometimes that people care about us that much," Kelly said) and delivered 5,000 meals to hospital workers. The New Castle Donates Meals for Healthcare Providers GoFundMe remains active and hopes to continue raising money to buy meals from local restaurants to give to healthcare workers for as long as this pandemic continues.
"I have to be honest: I did not think it would be this big," Erin said.