Local Restaurateur Donates Meals Every Week to Help Families

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Last month I wrote about Robin Hood’s Kitchen, a new group in Chatham County that takes vegetables donated from local farms and retailers and cooks them into delicious meals to donate to the CORA Food Pantry to distribute to local families.

Because Chatham County is full of folks with kind and generous hearts and a strong sense of community, Robin Hood’s Kitchen is not the only group cooking meals to feed families in need.

Local restaurateur Greg Lewis has been donating meals to families every week since last March! Greg is the president of YOLO Entertainment, the umbrella organization for several entities. Greg’s newest restaurant, The Sycamore, is a steakhouse slated to open soon at Chatham Mills in Pittsboro. Greg’s catering company, 39 West Catering, used to operate out of the Pittsboro Roadhouse, but he closed that restaurant last summer and now is building a new catering kitchen at Chatham Mills. Forest Hall is a beautiful event space at Chatham Mills.

When the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered restaurants last March, Greg’s wife Maria Parker-Lewis reached out to Panda Packs, a local program at Pittsboro Elementary School that provides backpacks full of food for kids at risk of hunger to take home on the weekends and during holidays. Since the Pittsboro Roadhouse was closed last spring due to the pandemic, Maria and Greg offered the restaurant space for storage and as a staging area to assemble the Panda Packs. Greg and Maria then partnered with other Chatham County schools and started preparing and donating meals for the students’ families. During the summer the meals went to the CORA Food Pantry to distribute to local families. At the peak they were donating 175-200 family meals a week. Local residents, organizations, and businesses helped with donations to purchase food. They started providing meals in March 2020 and have provided family meals every week since!

On the day I visited Greg last December, they were cooking meals in The Sycamore’s kitchen which is being used until the new catering kitchen is finished. 39 West Catering staff members Marybeth and Zulema were preparing meals that included a protein, sides, salad, bread, and dessert, enough to feed a family. The meals often include food donated from local farms. The meals were going to Communities in Schools which distributes them to families through local schools.

If you would like to support Greg in providing meals, you can donate through his Pass a Plate program.

Stay tuned for the opening date for The Sycamore and follow them on Facebook!

Greg Lewis with some of the side dishes

Greg Lewis with some of the side dishes his chefs were preparing for Communities in Schools. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Zulema prepares salads

Zulema prepares salads with lettuce donated by Chatham County’s Lil Rooster Farm. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Marybeth cooked up delicious potatoes au gratin

Marybeth cooked up delicious potatoes au gratin for one of the side dishes. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Marybeth grills chicken

Marybeth grills chicken for the creamy tomato basil chicken entree. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Family meals on table

Creamy tomato basil chicken, alfredo creamed pasta, and mixed vegetable medley. Family meals also included bread, salad, and dessert. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Marybeth and Zulema with Communities in Schools staff

Marybeth and Zulema with Communities in Schools staff picking up the prepared meals. Photo by Greg Lewis.