NEW CITY – The holiday season has passed, but Union Restaurant sand Bar Latino still appears to be in a charitable mood well into an unusually cold, snowy winter.
From February 23 to February 25, the restaurant-with the assistance of a team of volunteer servers-served thousands of meals to North Rockland residents in financially difficult straits. The effort came as part of their annual buffet dinner for the needy.
The restaurant began the annual tradition in 2007 when the economy began to show signs of difficulty. According to Union Restaurant owner Paulo Feteira, the idea was to make what was considered a high-end restaurant accessible to people who would not have an opportunity to visit otherwise.
According to Feteira, the event has also highlighted the often invisible impact of financial hardship.
“We thought just people who lived under a bridge or who didn’t have a roof would come, but it’s more than just that,” Feteira recalled. “The people look like regular people like you or me and they may have a nice car in the driveway, but they’re still struggling.”
Since that first year, the charity event took off. Along with needy families, volunteers also flocked in to serve visitors to the packed, bustling restaurant, which boasted not only a full house but also a lengthy line out front.
The success of the charity event was apparent in the number of food donations, as well. This year, the restaurant served over 3,500 meals, including 1,500 meals on its final night alone.