10,000 sandwiches to be distributed in Oakmont on Monday
Friday, March 20, 2020 | 10:24 AM
Thousands of sandwiches made of donated deli meat and cheese will be handed out Monday to people struggling for food in Oakmont during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eric Chaffin, of the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, said he didn’t want to see kids go hungry as their schools closed in an effort to curb the spread of covid-19.
He cited Pittsburgh Public Schools, which has said thousands of children in the greater Pittsburgh area are going without school lunches during the 10-day closure. Many school districts, however — such as Gateway School District in Monroeville and Pitcairn — have devised plans to offer free lunches during that time.
“We quickly saw kids at home going hungry. So, we went from talking to taking action to feed them,” he said.
Chaffin said his law firm’s foundation bought 2,500 pounds of deli meat, worth around $10,000, from Nations Best Deli Meats in Bronx, N.Y. The foundation then bought about $3,000 worth in bread from Oakmont Bakery.
Chaffin said he reached out to Marty Griffin, of KDKA News Radio and Sparkt, who in turn reached out to Marc Serrao, Oakmont Bakery owner.
“Marty called and said, ‘Any way you can make 10,000 sandwiches for Monday?’ I said no, then my son, Tony, said, ‘Dad, we absolutely can,’ ” Serrao said.
“It’s really unbelievable the way people are coming together,” he said.
Serrao said social distancing likely will make the effort challenging.
“It would be easier to manage if we could be on top of each other,” he said.
Volunteers are stepping up to help space out the sandwich assembling, Serrao said.
The meals are free, Serrao said, to “anybody that feels like they could use a bit of help.”
“That’s the thing I’m most excited about. We love helping people, always, but all of the businesses are coming together,” he added.
The 400 pounds of cheese was donated by Verona-based Lamagna Cheese and the lettuce was donated by Sam’s Club in Fawn. Oakmont Deli and Bird Dog’s Sports Bar in Harrison will slice the deli meat and the Oakmont Bakery will work to assemble the sandwiches.
In all, there is enough food to make 10,000 sandwiches. Utz has donated 10,000 bags of chips, too. Turner Dairy in Penn Hills is donating 10,000 pints of milk.
The bakery will start handing them out at 9 a.m. on March 23. Patrons are encouraged to stay in their vehicles. The sandwiches will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, Chaffin said.
The attorney also said 412 Food Rescue will deliver 2,500 sandwiches on Monday and Tuesday to locations yet to be determined so that people who cannot make it out to Oakmont Bakery can pick them up at spots closer to them.
The Chaffin Luhana law firm was originally scheduled to give talks at schools in the area about the dangers of distracted driving. Those talks were canceled due to the school closures.
“This is truly a win-win that will support businesses and charities, but most importantly, together we are helping the kids and families of the greater Pittsburgh area who are struggling right now,” Chaffin said.