Kingston and Area Real Estate Association (KAREA) members have pledged to supply Morningstar Mission with 40 meals a day over a 10 day span.
The initiative was put together quickly, first proposed by KAREA members last week and put into action just over 24 hours later, starting last Friday and continuing through next Tuesday. The group is working with Kingston-based restaurant owner Tommy Hunter, owner of Tommy’s and Smoke ‘N’ Barrel, to create the meals. They’re then delivered to Morningstar Mission in Napanee and distributed to those in need.
“For us to have these 40 meals, it means we can cut the meals that we’re producing and slide these right in,” said Morningstar Mission executive director Kevin Alkenbrack. “For us that’s huge because our food costs have gone right through the roof.”
Alkenbrack says there’s about 157 people on their daily food delivery list, delivering five meals a day. With so many of their volunteers falling into the seniors age group and most at risk due to COVID-19, Morningstar closed its kitchen and has been relying on the use of kitchens such as Season’s and the Lion’s Club to prepare food for those in need.
The 40 meals delivered to Napanee are part of 100 meals a day that KAREA is providing for the area they serve. On Monday KAREA president and Greater Napanee councillor Dave Pinnell Jr. joined KAREA’s public relations director Erin Finn and Hunter to deliver meals to the Mission.
Morningstar Mission has seen demand for their meal program grow exponentially in the wake of COVID-19. Not only have several people felt the financial crunch of layoffs and need help to cover their grocery bill, fellow meal providing agencies such as Peer-17 have suspended their casserole program.
That’s made it difficult for the vast majority of the people who rely on the meal program, as many are living on a fixed income.
“You can’t pay $1,000 rent, get $12,000 and have money for food,” said Alkenbrack. “There’s no way. So then people do what they have to do to survive. The one thing we know by sending these meals, it just allows people to know they’ve got food. Once you run out of money then all bets are off for what people are doing. We have a lot of struggling addicts, they don’t eat. If they can put a meal aside to be ready to eat when they’re ready, that’s huge. Because nothing good happens when people don’t eat. That’s when hopelessness sets in. The community loses for sure when people are hopeless.”
KAREA has over 550 members, all real estate agents in the Kingston and surrounding area.