By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A pair of charitable cooks who fed tens of thousands of people in neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Sandy stepped out of their kitchen to accept thanks and praise from Community Board 10 Monday night.
Justin Brannan and Karen Tadross, co-founders of the Bay Ridge Cares Kitchen, a soup kitchen operating the kitchen at Saint Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church on Ridge Boulevard, received certificates of appreciation from Board 10 Chairman Joanne Seminara at the Dec. 17 meeting.
A third Bay Ridge Cares Kitchen founder, Allison Robicelli, was unable to attend the board meeting. Brannan accepted the certificate on her behalf.
“They delivered quality meals to people who lost everything,” Seminara said.
Branna, Tadross, and Robicelli led a rotating team of volunteers in cooking hot meals and having the dishes delivered to residents in neighborhoods hit hard by the Oct. 31 super-storm.
The kitchen began working on Nov. 13, according to Tadross, who told the community board that as of Dec. 15, 25,000 meals had been prepared. “Not one meal has left our kitchen that was not healthy,” Tadross said.
The Bay Ridge Cares Kitchen placed a heart-shaped logo on each package containing each meal.
Robicelli is the owner of Robicellis, a wholesale food business that sells delicious desserts to some of the best restaurants and bakeries in New York. She plans many of the menus. Tadross, a theater producer, and Brannan, a musician and an aide to Councilman Vincent Gentile, also do their share of the cooking and meal planning.
The group earned recognition from the Citizens Committee for New York City, which has awarded the organization a $5,000 grant to continue the work.
The Citizens Committee for New York City has supported volunteer-led neighborhood groups carrying out community improvement projects across the five boroughs for 35 years. Recognizing that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy small volunteer-led groups had become crucial; Citizens Committee began awarding $5,000 grants to these groups.
Tadross said the soup kitchen was also sustained by donations from local residents and business owners. “We sustained ourselves through the goodness of our community,” she said.