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'It Takes An Army': Long Island Nonprofit Comprised Of People Who Lost Their Jobs In Pandemic Now Feeding Thousands

BELLMORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Fighting food insecurity and bringing hospitality workers back on the job, that's the goal behind Carroll's Kitchen Long Island.

On Wednesday, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis learned more about the nonprofit, and how you can help.

Chefs were chopping, cutting and cooking up a storm in a Bellmore kitchen, making meals to deliver to domestic violence shelters.

"It's really rewarding, at the end of the day, helping people and bringing meals to people in need," founder Ryan Carroll said.

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The Sayville resident started the nonprofit after losing his job as a chef in New York City when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"Everybody was kind of broken in March. It was a very sad time. It was like fight or flight and we just started fighting and we never stopped," Carroll said.

The kitchen built a team of hospitality workers, like Cole Dinkelman, who lost his job in catering.

"I just love what he's doing and can't help but support," Dinkelman said.


The movement started to feed frontline workers and the elderly well balanced, nutritional meals.

"It started for my grandmother because she lives alone with a caretaker. If I'm gonna feed my grandma, I'm gonna feed thousands of other people's grandmas across Long Island," Carroll said.

The workers worked out of restaurants to do so, but their efforts have expanded to a rented space and to feed anyone in need.

"We had 50 volunteers for Christmas helping us assemble and distribute 3,000 meals. It takes an army and the community to keep it going," Carroll said.

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The nonprofit has fed 33,000 people so far and now with the kitchen they have the capability to do even more.

It has since opened up a virtual food court, so people who want to contribute can order meals online for themselves to eat -- even cocktails.

The money collected is used to feed those in need, pay some chefs out of work, and support other charities.

"The more they eat, the more we help. If we sell more food, then that's more money we donate to other charities," Carroll said.

"Just having the opportunity and the ability to give back and help out people is a great feeling," co-worker Michael Burgen added.

It is an endeavor fueled by a passion for food and helping others.

Carroll said the goal is to reach 100,000 meals in 2021.

For more information on Carroll's Kitchen, including how to donate or order meals, please click here.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis contributed to this report


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