(Long Island, NY) Five star chef Marco Barrila, who cooks for clients, high profile people and celebrities alike, has cooking in his blood. He comes from a long line of restaurateurs.
“I love cooking because it makes people happy,” he said.
His company, Insatiable Eats Catering, which he runs with his wife Sheila, offers gourmet food for those looking to enjoy it in the comfort of their home. But serving people delicious meals wasn’t enough for the Barrilas. They wanted to give something back to the community; and that’s exactly what they have done through Citizens 4 Humanity.
Five star chef Marco Barrila, center, with Volunteers helping do the side dishes.
Through their charity, which was formed about five years ago, the Barrilas donate fully prepared gourmet meals to single parent families in need on the North and South Fork.
“I came from a single mom family of six,” Sheila Minkel Barrila said. “Single moms make up about 42% of the population on Long Island. A lot of single moms are struggling. Some don’t have any support at all.”
The organization also helps single dads, as well as other families in crisis. But its focus is on single parent families.
Trays of lasagna bolognese chef Barrila served at Christmas last year.
Community Centers and School Districts provide names of families that need food and other things for the holidays, Sheila Minkel Barrila said.
“We prioritize the families as far as who has the most need,” she said. This is because the charity is a small organization and doesn’t receive large corporate sponsorship. They get meats, poultry, produce and pies donated from local farms. The rest is through donations by individuals.
“Last year we had a list of 62 families,” she said. “We were only able to feed 18.”
Marco Barrila’s Heritage Turkey that he carved.
The Barrilas and an army of volunteers bring trays of food, including turkey, chicken, ham, potatoes, veggies and pies to needy single parent families starting on Thanksgiving Eve and going straight through Christmas.
“We don’t send raw food because some people don’t know how to cook it and others don’t have time. They get a delicious holiday meal from a five star chef and they love it,” she said.
This year the group has about 100 names. “Whoever we can’t feed we’ll send to other services like soup kitchens and churches,” she continued.
The Barrilas are also the only designated company on the East End that’s a first responder for the Red Cross. So, for instance, during Hurricane Sandy they put together food and people to prepare sandwiches and hot meals at shelters.
Year round volunteers delivering food.
“We would like to feed more families,” Sheila Minkel Barrila said. A donation of $50 feeds a family of 2-4. A donation of $100 feeds a family of five or six with teens.
The organization needs to raise $7,500 to feed all 100 families. So far they have raised just $700.
The answer to why they do it is simple.
“I love to see people’s faces when we open the door and present them with a beautiful meal,” Sheila Minkel Barrila said. “It’s very touching.”
“How can we enjoy our holidays when we know there are so many people out there that need to be fed?” Marco Barrila said. “We do our part to help make a difference.”
Farms that donate are: Schmidt’s Market in South Hampton, Finks Farm in Wading River, Satur Farm on the North Fork, Briermer Farms in Riverhead, Cromers Farm in Sag Harbor, Green Thumb Farm in Watermill and Miloski Farm in Calverton.
They have also received gift certificates from King Kullen and Stop ‘N’ Shop both in Hampton Bays. They received a $500 from the people at Wells Fargo Bank, collected by Christine Turtale and four other individual donations.
To make a donation go to www.citizens4humanity.org or send a check to PO Box 556, Hampton Bays, NY 11946