A Slice of Hope

Nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in NYC smile as they pose next to a stack of donated pizzas


A New York pizzeria is stepping up to feed hospital workers in New York City — as well as in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens — in the wake of the region’s upsurge in cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. In just over a week, the GoFundMe page “Sauce Pizzeria Loves NYC Hospitals” has raised more than $57,000 to help fund the donation of thousands of pizzas to more than 20 hospitals in the beleaguered region.

University of San Diego alumna Alisha (Ali) Le ’16 (BA) is the director of marketing for Everyday Hospitality, which consists of Sauce Restaurant, Coco & Cru Café and a few Sauce Pizzeria locations. “It all began when a nurse reached out asking for a pizza delivery to her unit, explaining they were working double shifts and didn’t have time to make their own meals before a shift,” she recalls. “It had become increasingly hard to get food delivered, as most of the restaurants in NYC were forced to shut down with the new COVID-19 rules of operation.”

Her group stepped in to fill the gap, even though they’d had to let the majority of their staff go when they were no longer allowed to operate their full-service restaurants. “Luckily, we were able to keep most of our pizzeria staff, managers, chefs, delivery teams and marketing team,” she says. “We have been fully focused on this mission, as hospitals in New York City have been overwhelmed. We’ve been sending pizzas to hospitals all over the NYC area and have sent more than 4,000+ pizzas to hospital staff, FDNY and NYPD. We’re currently sending 500 pizzas a day.”

The team at the company isn’t just producing the pies, but chipping in to pay for them and dropping them off as well. “We’re matching each pie donated or purchased and delivering the pies to hospitals ourselves,” Le says. “We’ve recently been authorized by the COVID-19 Emergency Task Force to begin delivering to feed first responders at the Javits Center, which has been temporarily turned into a hospital to take on COVID-19 positive patients.”

A recent article in The New York Post notes that their efforts haven’t just been appreciated by those on the frontlines — though they certainly are, to judge by the photos of smiling masked health care providers surrounded by boxes of pizzas — but by Sauce Pizzeria’s landlord, Ben Kraus, an asset manager at A&E Real Estate Management, who has waived their rent for three months.

“There were a variety of financial ways that we could contribute to the effort. We thought that waiving the rent would be a good first gesture,” Kraus, 31, told The Post.

Le and her team remain steadfast in their efforts. “It just clicked for us. We need to help and we can help. We will not stop until this crisis passes. Not until doctors and nurses stop asking us for help.” — Julene Snyder

Click here to contribute. Find Sauce Pizzeria’s Instagram here.

Have a story to share about Toreros responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? We’d love to hear from you!

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Email: dcim@sandiego.edu


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