Share My Meals purchases meals from restaurants to distribute to the community

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Share My Meals, a Princeton based organization, is purchasing 300 meals per day from Princeton restaurants to distribute to people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.PHOTOS COURTESY OF STANILAS BERTELOOT
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Share My Meals, a Princeton based organization, is purchasing 300 meals per day from Princeton restaurants to distribute to people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.PHOTOS COURTESY OF STANILAS BERTELOOT
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Share My Meals of Princeton is purchasing 300 meals per day from Princeton restaurants to distribute to people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.

Founded in January, the Share My Meals original model involved rescuing and distributing healthy cooked meals from corporate cafeterias and universities to people in need. When the pandemic forced businesses to close, Share My Meals shifted to a new model, partnering with Princeton restaurants and purchasing meals for the cost of goods, according to information provided by the organization.

“On the one hand, our source of meals disappeared overnight,” Isabelle Lambotte, Share My Meals president and co-founder, said in the statement. “On the other, the number of families in need grew exponentially. We decided to call on donors to continue providing healthy meals while allowing restaurant owners to keep some of their staff to cook for the growing number of food-insecure persons in Princeton.”

Share My Meals launched with 15 families in its program; currently, it has grown to serve more than 60 families and continues to grow, according to the statement.

Every day, the organization’s volunteers facilitate the distribution of 300 meals from three restaurants in Princeton. Recipients of the Share My Meals programs range from families eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch of Princeton Public Schools to senior citizens.

“There are not enough words to even say how much all the residents appreciate these meals. It took us a while here to take the situation seriously. It is just sad. We can’t go to church. We can’t enjoy each other. I guess we should just be grateful to be alive,” Patty Yates, a recipient of Share My Meals and a resident of the Clay Street, Maple Terrace and Franklin Avenue Resident Council neighborhoods in Princeton, said in the statement.

Share My Meals counts a team of 25 volunteers and currently limits its operations to Princeton, where it is partnering with The Meeting House, La Mezzaluna and Trattoria Procaccini.

Amanda Maher and her husband Amar Gautam had just launched The Meeting House, a new restaurant in Princeton, when COVID-19 struck.

“Amar and I were having a conversation about closing down the restaurant and doing takeout,” Amanda Maher said in the statement. “We’d decided that we were going to provide meals for our employees throughout the period. Then Amar said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to find an organization to partner with’ and then I remembered Share My Meals. We went to Share My Meals website and they were helping the exact people we wanted to help”

“I think it’s a great partnership because I’ve got some talented people and this massive kitchen, we can get food, and Share My Meals knows the people who need it,” Amar Gautam said in the statement.

For more information, visit www.sharemymeals.org.