Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a local catering company has put profits aside in favor of aiding New York’s frontline workers and elderly.
Like the majority of other businesses in the food industry, Food Trends Catering and Events had to place all orders on hold at the dawn of the pandemic. However, rather than shutting their doors in dismay, COO David Moskowicz and his mother, Alison Moskowicz, transformed their for-profit company into a food production and distribution center for New Yorkers in need.
Food Trends Catering and Events is a woman-owned business, which began 25 years ago as a small deli. The love and dedication Alison Moskowicz and her father put into the business allowed it to blossom into a full-scale catering company with a five-story office at 56 E. 41st Street and another facility in Little Ferry, New Jersey.
They were a one stop-shop, offering catering, planning, and event decorating services for office meetings, hospital celebrations, weddings, and other functions. Yet in March of 2020, all of that changed.
While other businesses halted work, the Moskowicz family reached out to their former medical clients to discover how they could aid frontline workers during this time of strife and uncertainty.
“We started a GoFundMe [page] and started making meals for hospitals, such as Mount Sinai, NYU, and Northwell Health, just trying to feed the workers during that craziness,” David Moskowicz said.
Food Trends Catering and Events did more than just provide meals for hospital workers, they examined the medical staff’s shifts in terms of hours and physical stress in order to determine the most nutritionally optimal meal.
With this information, the team prepared food they believed would help sustain personnel over the course of their long shifts.
“Traditional catering was not sufficient,” David Moskowicz said, explaining that some doctors and nurses were on their feet for 24 and sometimes even 36 hours.
The company took this into account and created dishes that were protein rich with healthy carbohydrates, including a small snack to enjoy later. Additionally, they reached out to city hospitals, and some private hospitals, who were not garnering as much attention and help as more well-known hospitals in New York, going as far as Bergen County, New Jersey, Long Island and other areas.
“Instead of doing nothing, I said to myself let us at least help whoever we can. If I can employ one or two individuals, it’s worth it for me. That is what I focus on, let’s just try to help as many people as we can because if all of us helped, this whole pandemic can end sooner. Just help whoever we can,” David Moskowicz told amNewYork Metro.
The Moskowicz family felt that this was the only way they could show people they truly cared.
Once the summer began, Food Trends Catering and Events contacted GET Food NYC Program, where they were able to fully function as a contract city food distribution site. In doing so, David Moskowicz hired back most of his employees (the individuals who wanted to return) and hired a few new workers as well.
The program Food Trends Catering and Events hosts with the city is intended for food insecure elderly individuals who are homebound. Those in need can call 311 to get meals delivered to their home for free. The city provides the Moskowicz family with a list of names and addresses, and they prepare and distribute a box of six meals to last at least three days.
“It’s a great program because these people cannot afford to either leave or cannot afford the contents of the food. We literally get calls from people crying saying, ‘Thank you so much for this box. This is really the only food that we can afford,’” David Moskowicz said.
The morals and ideals embedded into Food Trends Catering and Events began with David’s mother, Alison Moskowicz, a Russian immigrant. She came to the United States through a refugee program from Russia during the 1970s and remembers the kindness that was bestowed upon her during her arrival. With this in mind, she instilled these principles into her children.
“Her whole mentality is feeding people, getting family together and this whole thing with COVID, her whole goal is we gotta help as many individuals as we can. Whether it be the people who are physically getting the food or our own employees and keeping them employed,” David Moskowicz said.
By functioning as an at-cost industry, the company is able to stay afloat, keep as many people as possible employed, as well as help feed those in need. The aura of goodwill is not just something the Moskowicz family feels, but it is something his entire staff exemplifies. During the Feb. 1st snowstorm—the largest to hit the city since 2016—Food Trends Catering and Events’ employees not only arrived to work to deliver meals, when given the option to return home they refused—instead making certain to deliver all meals to the homebound.
“This is a family business. This is my family business, so I wear the name of the company on my sleeve. I’m just happy that I am not only able to do this for New Yorkers, like when I get these calls and voicemails where people are literally crying thanking me for meals, this is why we do it. I say it to the employees that this is what you are doing,” David Moskowicz said, adding, “It’s nothing but amazing for me to see. We’ve always been a for profit doing it for individuals and companies, and now that we are doing something that is not-for-profit, we are doing it just so people can have jobs, just so people can have a meal. It’s really amazing.”
As the vaccination dispersals continue and hope begins to shine for better a year, Food Trends Catering and Events hopes to revive their catering business, but, in doing so, they also hope to continue a nonprofit sector to maintain their work with the city, distributing meals to the elderly.
“The community did this for my family when they came over and now it is our turn to do it for the community as well. So, we are going to do this in addition going forward,” David Moskowicz said.
Since October, Food Trends has delivered about 850,000 meals to the homebound elderly throughout Manhattan and the outer boroughs.