With a new statewide shutdown limiting restaurants and bars to take out and delivery, local establishments are using the order to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Two restaurants have turned their spaces into food pantries to help families in the Sandy Springs public school cluster in need; one restaurant is preparing and delivering meals to hospital workers; and one brewery is making in-house hand sanitizer.

A sign advertising the Solidarity Food Pantry outside of Under the Cork Tree. (Special)

Solidarity Food Pantry

Jennifer Lott, a 12-year Sandy Springs resident, started with opening a pantry on March 12 at Samad Grill in Sandy Springs after Fulton County schools closed indefinitely. Now, the pantry, dubbed Solidarity Food Pantry, has a second location at Under the Cork Tree in Sandy Springs.

“It is community funded and community-driven,” Lott said. “We are funded by Sandy Springs families for Sandy Springs families.” 

The Under the Cork Tree location is in the Prado Shopping Center at 5600 Roswell Road and is open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Samad Grill location is in the North River Shopping Center at 8897 Roswell Road and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lott said she has seen donations from several local restaurants and organizations, including the Community Assistance Center, City Bagel and the Congregation B’nai Torah synagogue.

“We are all just working together,” Lott said. “It’s a beautiful, utopian and surprisingly easy situation.”

The pantry accepts donations of food or money and allows anyone in need to receive up to two bags of groceries.

The pantry is in need of any long-lasting staple goods, canned or boxed. They have an immediate need for canned and fresh fruit, cooking oil, kids’ books, bread, snacks, juice boxes and baby food. 

Lott said the pantry plans to provide meals to students April 6-10 during the Fulton County School System’s spring break. The GoFundMe page for the spring break meal effort is here.

Feeding the Frontlines

Breadwinner Cafe, located in the Springs Landing shopping center at 220 Sandy Springs Circle in Sandy Springs, has launched an effort called Feeding the Frontlines that is feeding workers at Emory Hospital and Northside Hospital in partnership with resident Shaun Winters.

“The cafeteria is down to limited service, many of the restaurants in the area are closed for now and most importantly, with the significant amount of new patients coming in – the nurses and staff don’t have time to take a 30-minute lunch,” Winters said in a GoFundMe post.

With each $10 donation, Breadwinner Cafe will prepare a lunch with a sandwich, side salad, bag of chips and a cookie and deliver it to the hospitals.

The employees at Breadwinner delivered 180 meals to Emory on March 31; 60 meals to Northside on April 2; and plan to deliver 100 meals to Northside early next week, Winters said.

Over $6,000 has been raised so far and Winters said he plans to expand the program to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Buckhead next.

The GoFundMe page for donations is here.

Homemade hand sanitizer

Pontoon Brewing, located in the Northridge Business Park shopping center at 8601 Dunwoody Place in Sandy Springs, is offering a free travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer, made in-house, with every online purchase.

The travel-sized hand sanitizer Pontoon Brewing is including with each to-go order. (Special)

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for small businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry,” owner of Pontoon Sean O’Keefe said. “We could let it bring us down and end us, or we can step up, do the right thing and help our community.”

The hand sanitizer is made in-house using a formula from the World Health Organization, O’Keefe said.

The brewery is offering to-go orders of beer from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday and orders can be made on the website.

Hannah Greco

Hannah Greco is writer and media communications specialist based in Atlanta.