In honor of 15 weeks of providing more than 1,600 free meals to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Tom Green on Tuesday declared July 14 in honor of those who made it all happen.
Spearheaded by Dawn Holloway, the owner of Pink Sub, and Howard Andrew of FabScout Entertainment, the proclamation also recognized Laymon Rupe, the Rev. Joel Slotnick, Bill Huelsman, Skip Vandeelinde of Fur the Love of Dogs, John Michael Gordan, Kevin Clevenger, The Pet Project, and Victor Lords.
“I feel good that the city is actually going to make a proclamation for each person. Each of our core group of eight people is going to get their own copy,” Andrew said. “It’s just about people helping people.”
And it all started over a meatloaf dinner.
After the shutdown in March, Andrew cooked and delivered dinners to the owner of Johnson’s to feed his employees. After doing it a second time, he contacted Holloway, a good friend of his, to see if she would be interested in partnering to make it a regular thing.
The pair cooked up meals, packaged them, and donning gloves and masks, handed them out to people using the honor system at least twice a week for 15 weeks. The food drives were hosted at The Manor and Johnson’s, but Hunter’s turned out to be the best place for it. People could safely drive through the parking lot and pick up their food.
Soon, other community groups were pitching in to hand out pet food, cases of toilet paper, and bottles of hand sanitizers. People also added to the tip jar, which went to the next round of meals, and companies began sponsoring the events. Volunteers, who cooked out of Holloway’s kitchen at the American Legion Post in Oakland Park, all got to take home a dinner, and any leftovers were given to the homeless.
“Having a kitchen at the Legion became very, very handy to make sure that all the people that served all of us over the years,” she said of those in the food industry. “It was something that we could do was give back and feed them.”
Group photo of the good samaritans. Photo via SFGN Facebook.
However, their goodwill didn’t come without criticism. Andrew said someone called code enforcement and the police on them more than once, and a few people complained that the meals didn’t meet their food preferences. But overall, most people were grateful for the free meals, especially those in industries dismantled by the pandemic.
The last meal was served on June 19.
“It was very fun and very rewarding at the end of the day,” Andrew said. “If it needs to happen again, so be it, we’ll do it again.”
With counties starting to reevaluate the effects of reopening, Andrew and Holloway have discussed if they’ll do this again should there be another shutdown or restrictions on restaurants.
As a restaurant owner, Holloway fully understands the pain that the food and beverage industry is going through. She, too, has been struggling, especially during the weeks that she spent focusing on the food drives. However, she said without hesitation that if the need for the food drives return, she’s in.
“If it happens, we’re on it. It’s one thing I've always done is feed people and I'll continue to do it even if I'm suffering myself,” she said. “I’ll always make something work for somebody that needs to eat.”
You can support Pink Sub, which is still serving food via delivery or catering orders. Visit Facebook.com/PinkSub.