Business owner, volunteers distributing free food to Tri-State families in need

Local business making sure kids don't miss meals during COVID-19 shutdowns
Updated: Mar. 18, 2020 at 10:40 PM EDT
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COLLEGE HILL, Ohio (FOX19) - Business owners around Greater Cincinnati are trying to stay afloat during this partial restaurant shutdown, but one local woman is also taking this time to give back.

At Red Rose Jems Italian Pizzeria, owner Sidney Mulford says they are working hard to ensure no child goes hungry.

“If you need your kids to get fed, then that’s just what we’ll do," she said.

When Mulford first found out that she had to close her dining room to customers because of the coronavirus, she, like many others, was upset.

“You don’t really process it. You kind of just do it," Mulford explained. “I was sitting up one night, and my mind was reeling. I’m like, ‘What are we going to do? What are these kids gonna do? What’s our neighborhood gonna do?’”

She and other College Hill business owners immediately tried to help each other.

“It was pretty devastating, but our landlords got together and gave some people in the community free month’s rent, and the remainder of us got together and helped pay for the others that needed it," Maria Adames, Mulford’s daughter, said.

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Mulford’s restaurant is still serving through carryouts, deliveries and donations. Every day for two hours, she says they open their doors for parents or kids in need of a meal to come and receive free food.

“We have been making sure that the kids in our area and outside of our area have drinks. They get a little treat," Adames said. "They have fruit, and they have pizza.”

Those involved are doing it because they want to; they help on a volunteer basis, Mulford says.

Other than the dishes they are cooking up in the kitchen, every item was freely gifted from people in the community.

“It was really awesome, just the community was just like, ‘What do you need?’ And they just started bringing it," Mulford said.

Mulford and her daughter say they know there is a need. So far this week, they have already helped feed dozens of families.

“We’ve had about 130, 140 kids, and it’s been building as the days go on," Adames said.

Through it all, Mulford explains they’re doing their best to keep things clean by limiting contact. She says gloves and sanitizer are always on hand.

From 4-6 p.m., the restaurant is open for carryout orders and for children and families to pick up meals. After 6 p.m., the pizza shop goes back to regular business, handling both carryout and delivery orders as they come in.

Mulford said they always appreciate their patrons’ support, but lending a helping hand brings a different kind of happiness.

“I think it helps us to cope a little bit better if we can give back and we can help other people," Mulford said.

Anyone who would like to make a food donation can contact Mulford at 513-289-6211 or can contact the restaurant through the business’ Facebook page.

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