Bronx restaurant feeds first responders during pandemic, spreads holiday cheer

A restaurant in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx transformed during the coronavirus pandemic to help the community and feed first responders. Now, they’re bringing the Christmas spirit to the neighborhood.

News 12 Staff

Dec 16, 2020, 2:06 PM

Updated 1,252 days ago

Share:

A restaurant in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx transformed during the coronavirus pandemic to help the community and feed first responders. Now, they’re bringing the Christmas spirit to the neighborhood. 
For Jackie McDonnell and her restaurant, The Kitchen, it’s always been about giving back to the neighborhood. 
When the pandemic hit, she says she sprang into action. "This community is very tight-knit, and we needed to help the locals survive this and get through this,” said McDonnell. 
The Kitchen turned the front of their restaurant into a food pantry--from extra supplies and donations--and offered free canned food, cereal, pasta and diapers. 
For those who couldn’t come out, they delivered to people’s doorsteps. 
"We were very lucky we were able to stay open, stay serving the community, keep our staff in jobs, and keep their families fed too,” said McDonnell. 
The Kitchen also created a GoFundMe to feed the first responders and delivered meals to them. 
"If one good thing is to come out of it, is that we pulled together and will be a better community afterward,” said McDonnell. 
The restaurant is also an important holiday stop for kids this season as they can write and mail letters to Santa right from the restaurant. 
"I think Santa Claus knew we needed it this year, we definitely did. You know, it’s been a tough year for everyone,” said McDonnell. 
McDonnell says Santa “broke in” one night and left the mailbox for children’s letters while an elf decorated the restaurant. 
She says kids can mail their letters from noon to 10 p.m. every day.


More from News 12
1:53
FDNY: Commercial strip fire extinguished in Wakefield; 4 firefighters with minor injuries

FDNY: Commercial strip fire extinguished in Wakefield; 4 firefighters with minor injuries

1:34
Summer-like heat to reach New York City by this weekend

Summer-like heat to reach New York City by this weekend

1:05
Nurse practitioner offers tips to decrease high blood pressure during High Blood Pressure Education Month

Nurse practitioner offers tips to decrease high blood pressure during High Blood Pressure Education Month

1:49
Photographer and resident at RiverSpring Living highlights essential workers in new exhibit

Photographer and resident at RiverSpring Living highlights essential workers in new exhibit

0:34
NYPD: 13-year-old grazed by bullet in Claremont Village

NYPD: 13-year-old grazed by bullet in Claremont Village

Power & Politics: Ask Mayor Eric Adams

Power & Politics: Ask Mayor Eric Adams

2:23
NYPD: Man caught on camera stealing $1,000 from convenience store register in Concourse Village

NYPD: Man caught on camera stealing $1,000 from convenience store register in Concourse Village

1:36
Allerton man gives back with community fridge, turns to community for help

Allerton man gives back with community fridge, turns to community for help

0:38
Elected officials, advocates rally to restore funding for community composting programs

Elected officials, advocates rally to restore funding for community composting programs

1:55
Supporters, opponents await Trump's campaign stop in the Bronx

Supporters, opponents await Trump's campaign stop in the Bronx

2:02
Parkchester woman reaches out for help finding lost family heirloom

Parkchester woman reaches out for help finding lost family heirloom

1:05
Showing respect: Volunteers prepare Woodlawn Cemetery for Memorial Day

Showing respect: Volunteers prepare Woodlawn Cemetery for Memorial Day

1:10
Police: 1 man dead, another injured in Edenwald double shooting

Police: 1 man dead, another injured in Edenwald double shooting

1:46
Susan Sarandon, public advocate work in Dumbo restaurant to shine light on ‘One Fair Wage’ mission

Susan Sarandon, public advocate work in Dumbo restaurant to shine light on ‘One Fair Wage’ mission

1:44
Summer is in the air: Hot week ahead in New York City

Summer is in the air: Hot week ahead in New York City

1:30
Madison Square Boys & Girls Club alumni fight to find a buyer following closing announcement of Crotona Park location

Madison Square Boys & Girls Club alumni fight to find a buyer following closing announcement of Crotona Park location

1:43
‘Ride of Silence’ takes cyclists on ghost bike tour, honors victims of traffic accidents

‘Ride of Silence’ takes cyclists on ghost bike tour, honors victims of traffic accidents

1:00
FDNY firefighter injured during Bronx house fire released from hospital

FDNY firefighter injured during Bronx house fire released from hospital

1:42
Bronx Week: Festivities wrap up with parade and food festival

Bronx Week: Festivities wrap up with parade and food festival

0:51
FDNY responds to 2 overnight fires in the Bronx; 2 injured

FDNY responds to 2 overnight fires in the Bronx; 2 injured