We told you a little bit about our friends at the Shore Soup Project back in December, when we started printing labels for their Rockaway soup delivery relief effort. Now they're planning on opening a pay-as-you-can sustainable restaurant in Rockaway. Their soup is some of the most delicious we've tasted, so we're pretty excited that they're planning on expanding. Shore Soup has dedicated infinite time and energy trying to rebuild the battered community of Rockaway in a direct, person-to-person way--all the more important given the lack of government relief that still plagues Rockaway months after Sandy. They've set up an exceptional Kickstarter to help fund this goal. It's a really cool opportunity to help a one of a kind team fight for their neighborhood in the wake of Sandy.
|The Rockaway boardwalk, pre-Sandy|
The backstory: Robyn Hillman-Hartigan and Lillian Gerson moved to Rockaway about a year ago and launched Shore Fruit, a roving tricycle fruit stand on the boardwalk. If you visited the boardwalk at all last summer, you may remember the sight of Lillian hawking fruit and ready conversation up and down the boardwalk, peddling a cart equipped with a giant fruit skewer sculpture.
|L-R: fruit customer, Robyn, Lillian|
After spending the summer on the boardwalk, Robyn and Lillian witnessed its total destruction, watching from their windows on Beach 59th street as the storm decimated Rockaway.
Committed to staying in the community that had become their home, Robyn founded the Rockaway Rescue Alliance and Shore Soup the day after Sandy hit and immediately went to work. At that point, no one even knew how badly their help would be needed. Homes were flooded, structurally compromised and covered in black mold. There was no electricity, no ATMS, no transportation off the island, no heat or light at night. There was no cell phone reception. The peninsula felt forgotten.
For the first three months after Sandy, Shore Soup delivered an average of 800 free, healthy hot meals door-to-door daily, reaching neighbors across the peninsula including home bound seniors, families without access to healthy food, individuals living in public housing, and affected renters and home owners. As Robyn put it: "Everyone truly needed the basics: hot food, warm conversation and a roof over their heads."
|Trike delivery system|
|Thumbs up to soup|
They want to build on their efforts with a pay-as-you-can food truck this summer and, if they can keep raising money past their goal, they can begin work on a mortar-and-brick restaurant. Robyn is adamant about creating a community hub where everyone in Rockaway can come together; with the boardwalk gone and most of the familiar restaurants and gathering spaces washed away, Rockaway needs this. A $50 pledge gets you four meals from Shore Soup-- a bargain, as we can personally attest to Shore Soup's incredible cooking prowess.
See you @ the beach?