CICERO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV/WETM) — A Cicero restaurant owner thought the COVID-19 pandemic would run him into the ground. Instead, he’s on a new mission to try and make sure those in our community don’t go hungry.
The Chickadee, Human Eatery’s mission now expands far beyond its walls.
“People just started sending money,” said owner David Caramanna.
He the decided to start a “pay it forward post-it wall.”
At first, the focus was to feed children in the community, now it’s for anyone who needs it.
“If you’re home and you ran out of tip money and you’re running low on groceries and you want something different, come in there’s food waiting for you,” said Caramanna.
Within two weeks the wall has generated $5,000. People are donating, businesses are donating, leaving anywhere from $10 to $300 dollars. Caramanna also started a separate wall specifically for first responders.
“Somebody came in and didn’t want first responders including nurses… paid for their meals,” said Caramanna. “I thought he was looking for a free meal and breakfast and gave me $100.”
Seeing the community come together like never before is what Caramanna calls a rainbow in the middle of this storm. “I see people start to appreciate what we had before and just wanting to help anyone that they can,” he said.
An agent from State Farm paired up with the restaurant and Carvel. “Donated a ton of money, $5 dinners we’re doing or if you can’t afford it I just give em to you,” said Caramanna. “You come in, get a dinner for 5 bucks and then we give you a coupon to go get an ice cream.”
Others are donating bread and pizza to help keep his stock full. “Geddes Bakery doing my breads, they’ve said we wanna help you out we’ll give you free breads,” said Caramanna.
“I’ve had people donate pizzas, I’ve got 30 pizzas down there at any time in my freezers so when someone orders a meal I always throw two or three pizzas in there, some bread, two loaves of bread with some peanut butter and jelly, some mac and cheeses, just something to get them through the days that come after that.”DAVID CARAMANNA
The kindness and generosity he’s seen is something he hopes will stick around when we get to the other side of this crisis.
“I’m gonna be here, keep making food until they shut me down or I pass out of exhaustion,” said Caramanna. “If we stay open and we still pay our bills there will always be a wall here for people to come get a free meal.”
If you’d like to donate you can visit the restaurant in person at 8140 Brewerton Rd in Cicero. You can also call them at (315) 699-7044 and pay over the phone or ask for their Venmo/PayPal accounts.