MORRISTOWN, NJ - As people enjoy a nice restaurant meal outdoors, things are starting to get cold. Autumn has arrived and the COVID-19 threat is still ongoing. If restaurant open their doors, and diners can eat inside, there would still have little business for all eateries.
But Morristown residents Melissa Spiotta and Jeff Haag have s simple solution. Together they have started a drive to collect blankets for the Table of Hope organization.
“So, I was talking to Nestor F Bedoya from Chef Fredy's Table about an idea I had for fall,” said Spiotta. “I don’t know about you, but I get very cold, very easily. So, eating outside gets hard for me this time of year but I am determined to support our amazing restaurants. This time four years ago I was in London and every restaurant had a basket of blankets outside for customers to use and that idea has stuck in my brain since then.”
This idea became known as #BringYourOwnBlanket. Residents can purchase a "Morristown Strong" blanket to continue to support the restuarants, while also supporting Table of Hope. Table of Hope, a non-profit organization, provides food to local Morristown families with food insecurity. Table of Hope has been doing a mobile food pantry almost since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred and is part of the Spring Street Community Development Corporation, and part of Bethel Church of Morristown.
As of now, over 280 blankets have been collected or made, and sold, amounting close to $2,000, all going to Table of Hope. And to top it off, George Zacieracha, owner of EmbroideMe Morristown, who is making the blankets, is matching a $2 donation per blanket, which adds just over $500.
With this success, Spiotta, Haag, and other volunteers don’t intend to stop there.
“The other group I created during COVID, ‘Morristown Helps,’ was created to help orchestrate activities to benefit the hospital,” said Spiotta. “I founded a group in our town to send meals to the hospital. All in over 17,000 meals were donated from Morristown/ Morris Twp. Lots of other great helping is happening. That is why when I had the blanket idea, it was a natural extension to do this to help a local business, a local non-profit and the restaurants all at once. And I knew people would be into it. Our community is a special place and people are very proud to be a part of it. As it gets colder, I think it will grow because besides just eating out, people want to see their friends outdoors too. So #bringyourownblanket was an even better idea than I thought!”
“We both have worked very closely with local restaurants to help them navigate through COVID, and more recently with other businesses too,” said Spiotta. “We both love the community and want to see it thrive post-COVID.”
To purchase a blanket ($5 from each blanket sale will go to Table of Hope), click HERE
To learn more about Table of Hope, visit their webpage page at http://www.bethelmorristown.org/table-of-hope/.
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