MAHOPAC, N.Y. - As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow and wreak havoc across the country, stories of acts of generosity and kindness, both big and small, have started to emerge.
Mahopac is no exception.
For the past several weeks, the proprietors of Klazy Jax, along with their neighbors, Bucci’s Deli, have been providing meals to first responders in the Bronx who are helping to operate a coronavirus test station on the campus of Lehman College.
Aracely Medranza-Kuszel opened Klazy Jax on Route 6 last December (the former site of Patrick’s Pub). Her husband, Phil Kuszel, is a retired New York City police officer and a member of the Army reserves who now works as a healthcare attorney and serves as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer.
SOMOS Community Care is a network of nearly 2,500 healthcare providers in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn who have come together to ensure better health care for Medicaid members. They set up the testing site at Lehman and chip in a little to help defray the cost of the meals.
“They asked me to help with the logistics at the collection site,” Phil Kuszel said. “They asked us if we could provide food.”
Kuszel went to his neighbor, Bucci’s Deli, and asked if they would help with the breakfasts and they said yes.
“We are now providing three meals a day,” Kuszel said. “We saw what they are doing. We get there at six in the morning and deliver it to them. Bucci’s, being our neighbor, I asked them about breakfast and without hesitation they said they’d do it.”
Between the two restaurants, 70 breakfasts, 120 lunches, and 120 dinners are being delivered daily.
“The site is organized by the governor’s office, department of health and is staffed by NYPD, national guard soldiers, SOMOS Community Care and Montefiore Hospital,” he said. “We have a neonatal surgeon who gave up her practice to be there.”
And they all have to be fed. And that’s happening three times a day now thanks to the generosity of Bucci’s and Klazy Jack’s.
“We are preparing various meals from our menu,” Kuszel said. “Empanadas, baked chicken, sausage and peppers, gumbo. They are being well-fed.”
Tommy Bucci, co-owner of Bucci's Deli, said taking part in the project was an easy decision.
"We are doing it every day," he said. “What's one more?”
He said the breakfasts they've provided are cold, things such as danish and buttered rolls.
"They have limited space," he noted. "And each item has to be individually wrapped, which is a challenge. But we're happy to do it."
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