MORRISTOWN, NJ - As some people raise funds for first responders, make face shields for health care workers, or give gift cards to people on furlough during the COVID-19 crisis, others wish to simply feed them all. After all, people still need to eat, even during a pandemic.

Ori Kasneci, owner of Pomodoro Ristorante & Pizzeria, in Morristown, is one of those individuals who is making it his mission to provide those in need.

“We have always done food donations to the soup kitchen and the market mission,” said Kasneci. “Also, we have always sponsored different sports teams, schools, and kid’s activities.”

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With sponsoring these groups, Pomodoro has served the public dishes, such as eggplant rollatini, penne vodka, spaghetti and meatballs, grilled salmon, hot and cold sandwiches, veal parmigiana and a variety of pizza. But now, with social distancing being the norm, and businesses closing down and affecting working families, Kasneci and his volunteers decided to give back even more.

Originally from Tuscany, Italy, Kasneci with his Albanian family came to America 15 years ago. Kasneci and his wife have recently lived in Morristown for about five years after we bought Pomodoro, and then following the birth of their daughter, they decided to move to Mendham and currently in Chester. And all his life, Kasneci’s American dream involved food.

“My mom was a chef growing up and my grandfather owned a restaurant,” said Kasneci, who has owned Pomodoro for the past 10 years. “I was always fascinated by it and I decided to take culinary classes in Italy. Once we moved to America, I worked at restaurants and started at the bottom as a dishwasher then moved my way up. I had many good mentors that taught what I know now. I always dreamed of owning my own place one day and they don’t call it the American dream for nothing. Guess I got mine!”

Yet, in recent months, Kasneci’s American dream, like some many others, have been facing hard times during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Business has definitely not been the same since this happened, but the community support has been immense and has given us strength,” said Kasneci. “I feel the most rewarding work that has been done has been these past two months being able to give back to the community that has supported and made Pomodoro what it is now.”

During this time, Pomodoro has served on average 100 meals a day. Much of these meals have gone to the hospitals, local families in need, senior citizens, churches, and immigrant families that cannot access government help. Pomodoro has also been assisting another Morristown restaurant, Chef Fredy’s Table, with raising funds with the latter’s own food drive and distribution

“We have mostly focused on donating prepared food straight from the restaurant,” said Kasneci. “I am truly blessed. My customers are really my family. We have donated hundreds of meals until now and continuing. We don’t plan to stop as the healthcare workers don’t plan to quit on us. We don’t plan to quit on helping to feed them and people who are in need!”

 

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