Pete & Sam’s Delivers Spaghetti Meals for Families in Need
By Erinn Figg, Published: April 16, 2020 4:00 AM CT
Catholic Charities of West Tennessee Executive Director Kelley
Henderson (middle) helps case manager Shannon Privett (left)
load a car with spaghetti dinners donated from Pete and Sam’s
restaurant on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Pete and Sam’s donated
560 meals that will be apart of a care package delivered to 160
formerly homeless families. Some of the donated meals will also
be handed out to several area churches, who also help feed the
needy and homeless families. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)
Late last week, Sam and Michael Bomarito decided they wanted to help local people in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
So, the co-owners of Pete & Sam’s restaurant at 3886 Park Ave. did what they do best. They cooked 45 gallons of their signature Italian “gravy” and, with the volunteer help of their employees, prepared enough spaghetti with meat sauce to feed 560 people in Memphis Wednesday, April 15.
Catholic Charities of West Tennessee coordinated distribution of the meals to Memphians who are currently experiencing food insecurity.
They loaded a van and delivered the spaghetti to 200 homes and worked in partnership with St. Patrick Community Outreach Center, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen and St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Mission to serve the rest of the meals curbside at those locations.
“A lot of people are struggling right now and we’ve been fortunate enough to stay busy — we haven’t had to let any employees go — so we just wanted to do something to help other people right now,” Sam Bomarito Jr. said.
John Kavach (left) director of Fig Tree Emergency Services,
and Shannon Privett (right), a case manager with Catholic
Charities of West Tennessee, load up frozen meats on Wednesday,
April 15, 2020. Privett will help deliver the meals and supplies to
160 formerly homeless families. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)
Pete & Sam’s, a staple in the Memphis restaurant scene since 1948, is still open for take-out meals and has expanded its services to include delivery.
Bomarito said they’re doing everything they can to stay open and protect employees’ jobs, focusing now on “take and bake” family meals such as lasagna, manicotti and pizzas. Former servers are now working as delivery drivers.
They’re making it work but, in a time when Memphis is seeing record numbers of unemployment and small business closings, they also want to help others who aren’t as fortunate.
Kelley Henderson, executive director of CCWTN, said the restaurant’s unexpected act of generosity was “extraordinary.”
“Michael called me and asked if we could help them feed about 500 people. The easy answer was yes,” Henderson said. “This is the first restaurant that’s called us and said, ‘We’d like to prepare meals for your folks.’ It was above and beyond. They not only provided us with a donation of food, but they actually got up early this morning and made the meals.”
CCWTN is one of the largest nonprofit, multi-social service providers in the Mid-South, currently focused on serving people without food or homes. The organization has modified its food pantry at 1325 Jefferson Ave. to a drive-thru format, feeding about 200 families a week.
“We’re seeing people come through who have never had to ask for help before. They’ve lost their jobs. They’ve been out of work for weeks,” Henderson said.
Other people can help CCWTN feed Memphians in need by making monetary donations, donating canned goods or scheduling appointments to come in and volunteer by boxing meals in a safe, quarantined space.
Shannon Privett, a case manager with Catholic Charities of
West Tennessee, loads her car with spaghetti dinners
donated from Pete and Sam’s restaurant on Wednesday,
April 15, 2020. (Mark Weber/Daily Memphian)
“We have been forced to stay apart — our very survival depends on that — but there are still ways to come together as a community,” Henderson said. “Coming together to serve, coming together to support organizations like Catholic Charities is really important. I hope we’ll learn how to come together in different ways because of this. Let’s not forget our neighbors.”
At Pete & Sam’s, Bomarito said they’ll continue do whatever they can to serve the community.
“During these times in need, we were happy to be able to help some people out. We’ll definitely do it again,” he said.