Meals Go Straight To First Responders

Last night, Nicole Straight sat home feeling anxious.

Her daughter — suddenly home from college — was working a volunteer shift at EMS.

Food Rescue US — the app that uses volunteer drivers to move food that would otherwise be thrown away by restaurants to shelters, kitchens and pantries, and which Nicole runs locally — had gotten slammed. Longtime generous donors were suddenly shutting down.

As she chatted with a friend — an ER nurse at Norwalk Hospital — Nicole had an idea. What if she could get meals from a local restaurant, and bring them to first responders?

She called Bill Taibe — owner of The Whelk, Jesup Hall and Kawa Ni, who had just announced an end to in-house dining. He was happy to help.

Nicole told him to make whatever he wanted, and pack it individually. She’d bring it to Westport EMS.

Bill calculated the cost at $15 a meal. Nicole posted that information on Facebook. She hoped to get enough donations so she would not have to cover 50 meals — $750 — herself.

Since last night, almost $6,000 has poured in.

Old Post Tavern in Fairfield asked if they could help. An ICU nurse from Norwalk Hospital said her crew would love a meal.

Nicole’s daughter contacted the crew chief from Norwalk EMS. Tomorrow, they and the ICU unit will get 70 meals, courtesy of Old Post Tavern.

Nicole is also setting up meals for Trumbull EMS, Bridgeport Hospital’s ER and ICU, and Bridgeport’s Harding High School Adversity to Prosperity program, which keeps at-risk youth off the streets and involved in sports.

She is looking for first responders who’d like a meal, and restaurants who would like to help (and be paid, of course).

Meanwhile, Nicole is setting up a GoFundMe page, so other communities can also support both restaurants and first responders.

Until then, people can Venmo @nicole-straight. She’ll buy meals from local restaurants — and bring them to first responders around Fairfield County — as long as she can.

Crew chief Rob Pocius accepts a special delivery at Westport EMS.

25 responses to “Meals Go Straight To First Responders

  1. Nicole Klein


  2. Eileen Lavigne Flug

    Way to go, Nicole! What a wonderful way to support our first responders and our restaurants.

  3. Ilene Mirkine

    This is our community at its best! Thank you Nicole and all the restaurants participating….thank you Dan for sharing!

  4. Way to go Westport!!!

  5. Jay Tormey'66

    Way to go Westport!!

  6. Stephanie Mastocciolo

    You rock Nicole!! Way to put an idea into immediate action!!

  7. The doctors/nurses/hospital staff are probably going to be hardest hit in this crisis. First responders will be significantly impacted too. Don’t forget about the hard workers keeping grocery store shelves stocked. Truck drivers delivering the supplies to go on the shelves. Factory workers and others a part of the supply chain making sure there is something to load onto the trucks. Tons of important people working tirelessly and its likely only going to get worse.

    • And don’t forget those that can’t get to the stores, are home quarantined, possibly out of work, not making wages. They really could use meals and supplies delivered to their doors. And the health department workers and those that will be working the drive through testing .

  8. HELLO @FreshMarket ,
    We need your help! Please, please let this nonprofitCo pick up your (everything but bread which IS being donated) instead of TOSSING IT in the Garbage. There is a better way— Food Rescue!!
    Who do we need to talk to to accomplish this ((ASK))… ??
    Nicole already tried…Please don’t Throw Away any more good FOOD.
    I will gladly come and get it.

  9. I’m blown away by the kindness of our community. Thank you Nicole and everyone involved!

  10. Can you give us link to Go Fund Me b page?

    Sent from my iPhone


  11. Great initiative! Shout-out to Nicole and Bill who got the ball rolling.

  12. This is amazing! Keep us posted when the go fund me is up.

    Also, Dan, thank you for keeping all of us informed – I’ve always been so grateful to you but now even more than ever.

  13. Go Nicole! You’re the best.

  14. Rick Beispel


  15. Dan, we’ve met a few times and I really, really am overwhelmed and respect so much the work you do with this blog especially in these difficult times.

    I’m sure you will be on top of this but what I don’t understand is how with the first selectmen having closed the Town hall at least until March 31 the interim school superintendent announced today according to the Connecticut post that schools would reopen on March 26?! This of course has now been overruled by the governor’s executive order but I’m just wondering what was the interim superintendent thinking at this time of crisis in making such an announcement.

    I know you have much going on so no need to respond but I’m sure it will be a subject in your blog. Keep up the great work. Sent from my iPhone


    • have you tried reaching out to either of them and ask?

    • Thanks, John. My understanding is that March 26 was a target date, not a firm one. And, as you note, all that is moot now that the governor has mandated schools are closed until March 31 at least.

    • Wendy Cusick

      I think this was a temporary target date.
      This can change in a moments notice.
      Especially with the news I’m reading.
      Everyone has to be flexible. This whole situation needs to remain fluid.

  16. Justine Fink

    Amazing. Dan, please keep us posted when the GoFundMe page is set up to spread the word.

  17. Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    Nicole you Rock, your a person of Action, thank you.
    Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

  18. dennis and joan poster

    Dan way to go
    as always you always do good for the community
    how can Joan and I donate to??
    to help with meals and food for the EMS fireman and police in the community
    thx so much
    dennis and joan poster