QUEENS, N.Y. — It might not seem out of the ordinary: Food being prepped in a Queens restaurant kitchen. But these meals are not for paying customers.
When Jorge Mdahuar and Jon Gneezy opened “The Deep End” four years ago they never expected an empty bar.
“We wanted to create was just a community space for everybody. Just a local hot spot for everybody," Mdahuar said.
But with the COVID restrictions, this Ridgewood “hot spot” was forced to pivot.
“It was a lot to see everyone go through and, you know, we wanted to do what we could to help," Gneezy said.
The Deep End staff started where they saw the most need, preparing meals for healthcare workers and others on the frontlines. Now they're 25,000 meals in and they say it’s only the beginning.
“We have no plan to stop because people are out there and people need help," Gneezy said.
What began with meals for healthcare workers and EMS teams has now turned into hot food for shelters and mutual aid groups.
“As long as people are out there looking for food and struggling to keep food on the table, then we’re gonna be there," Mdahuar said.
They're now established as “Helping Hearts”. This team is supported through monetary donations.
It’s enough to keep the lights on and the 50 pounds of chicken cooking for their weekly deliveries, serving more than 400 meals.
“You know, while it might not seem like much, a hot meal is something to just show that people are there, and care, and that we’re with you," Gneezy said.
Jorge and Jon are looking forward to the day they can open their doors again but for now, they’re more than satisfied with opening their hearts.
“I think it’s really important that everyone does what they can to lift each other up," Gneezy said.
So, for switching up their business plan to help where it’s needed most, Jorge Mdahuar and Jon Gneezy are our latest New Yorkers of the Week.
If you would like to learn more or donate to the cause, check out www.Helpinghearts.nyc or @DEEPENDNYC on Instagram.