power outages

Middletown Pizza Restaurant Offers Free Meals to Customers Without Power

NBC Universal, Inc.

The phone hasn't stopped ringing at Jerry's Pizza and Bar in Middletown from people without power looking for a meal.

As folks around town clean up and wait for the power crews to come, the restaurant is hoping to take something off their neighbors' plates by putting something on it -free food.

Jerry’s Pizza and Bar made a Facebook post calling on anyone without electricity after Isaias who was in need of a meal to give them a call. The response was huge in just the first few hours, owner Carmela Schiano told NBC Connecticut Friday as she prepared one of several dozen meals for families without power.

"We decided to put the thing up on Facebook and it just started to go crazy," Schiano said.

"We just thought it would be good to reach out to the community because it's already bad with COVID, now 700,000 people in Connecticut don't have power," manager Antonio Lockwood said.

Not having to think about how to make a meal when everything you need to do it isn't working is a huge weight off the shoulders of some of their longtime customers.

"Just trying to figure out how to feed my family. I saw the post and was like I don’t have to worry about dinner tonight," Kathy Rose of Portland said.

"We have no refrigerator, we have no stove. How are we going to do this? It takes a little of that burden off you," said Middlefield resident Elaine Diaz.

Brendon Mayhew has four kids and a pregnant wife at home without electricity for most of the week.

"Just trying to make do with what you got. Especially with everything already being so crazy as is," he told NBC Connecticut.

For his family, the free meal was a relief, and a small return to normalcy in the midst of so much.

"For them to be doing this, we're so grateful. At least a little bit of humanity is restored," he said.

The Jerry's family patriarch started the restaurant more than 50 years ago and has since retired. His daughter says she's just doing what her dad taught her - you can't just sell food to customers, you have to help them too.

"He always taught me always make sure you do something for your customers so they appreciate you a little bit. You want your customers to feel like you're part of their family as well," Schiano said.

The owners are hoping power will be restored by tomorrow in Middletown. If it's not, they say they'll deliver more meals for the community then too.

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