Actor Jeffrey Wright Starts Brooklyn For Life! Initiative To Feed Frontline Workers

Brooklyn For Life!  is an initiative feeding Brooklyn’s healthcare workers and first responders, launched on March 25, 2020 by renowned actor and Brooklynite, Jeffrey Wright, two of his restaurant-owner friends and a Brooklyn Hospital V.P. Brooklyn for Life!has raised over $294,000 and counting via its GoFundMe page, with 3.1 thousand donors so far, and an additional $185,000 through direct donations to the registered 501(c)3 Brooklyn NY for Life!, Inc. 100% of proceeds (beyond GoFundMe and legal fees) goes to local Brooklyn restaurants – all small businesses – which, during the last month, have delivered over 45,000 meals to 8 medical facilities and 10 FDNY EMS stations. Brooklyn for Life!is now working in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, whose office helped facilitate its borough-wide expansion.

Brooklyn For Life! came into being after Jeffrey caught wind that Vito Randazzo, owner of 15-year-old Graziella’s Italian Restaurant, had started Operation Pizza, inviting customers to order pizzas for delivery to staff at Brooklyn Hospital.  Jeffrey had been working via social media in an attempt to boost business for Michael Thompson’s 25-year-old local mainstay Brooklyn Moon Café, once the center of the Brooklyn’s spoken-word scene and whereErykah Badu gave her first NYC performance. Jeffrey reached out to Vito, whose food he regularly enjoys, and on March 24th, two days after NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide stay-at-home-order, Vito connected him to Lenny Singletary, Brooklyn Hospital VP for External Affairs. The plan for the GoFundMe page was hatched that day and Brooklyn for Life! was born.

On March 26th, Jeffrey and Vito met with Lenny outside the hospital (at a distance) to understand how they could best support the hospital’s staff going forward. With staff working extended hours and many not going home but staying in hotels near the hospital, Lenny suggested that 200 meals could be provided daily. Graziella’s Italian dishes and Brooklyn Moon’s Caribbean/Soul food were delivered to the hospital the very next day.  Since that first delivery to Brooklyn Hospital, on March 27th, and with assistance from the office of Brooklyn Borough President Adams, Brooklyn For Life! has ramped up to over 2500 meals per day (more than 45,000 meals in total) provided by a rotating partnership of 43 restaurants. Brooklyn for Life! now delivers impact borough-wide with plans to expand to seniors at home as well as in care facilities in coordination with local grocer, Greene Grape Provisions.

List Of Front-Line Facilities Being Served:

Local Eats for Brooklyn’s Frontline Fighters in Brookdale Hospital, Brooklyn Hospital, Cumberland Health Center, Gotham Health Clinic East NY, Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital (almostBk, they snuck in) Woodhull Medical Center and Brooklyn FDNY EMS Battalions 31, 32, 35, 38, 39, 40, 44, 57, 58 & 59 (through the guidance of Anthony Almojera, Vice President local 3621 FDNY EMS officers union).

To get the word out about these efforts, Jeffrey has gathered a handful of friends, all Brooklynites past or present, to post the Brooklyn For Life! relief video simultaneously on Friday, April 24that 9am PT/12pm ET, along with the hashtag #BrooklynForLife! The video was put together as a message of solidarity and to raise awareness of the project in hopes that it achieve the $1M donation goal set on its GoFundMe page (Brooklyn For Life), a goal initially set at $10,000. That money will continue to help fund each Brooklyn for Life! restaurant, enabling them to provide – at no cost to the recipients – at least 100-200 meals per day for delivery to the Brooklyn frontlines of this pandemic, and with Greene Bites, a bodega directly across the street from Brooklyn Hospital, Bk4L! is providing a $500 per day allowance, so that anyone walking in with a Brooklyn Hospital ID gets food & drink on the house. In doing this, Brooklyn for Life!will keep grills & ovens hot to feed Brooklyn’s healthcare heroes and keep vital local small businesses and members of their staff afloat through tough times.

“We started Brooklyn for Life! out of love for Brooklyn and out of solidarity with our neighbors. This is home. The hope is that Brooklyn emerges from this global pandemic as strong and as beautiful as she was before COVID, and our community is coming together to help make that happen. The video tries to celebrate that and express gratitude for those on the frontlines of that effort”.  – Jeffrey Wright

Video Participants Include:

Jeffrey Wright | Daniel Craig | Spike Lee | Ansel Elgort | Chris Rock | Jimmy Kimmel | Lupita Nyong’o Rosie Perez | Mahershala Ali | Michelle Williams | Michael K Williams | Erykah Badu | Big Daddy Kane | Meshell Ndegécello | Maxwell | Talib Kweli | Harvey Keitel | Peter Dinklage | Carmen Ejogo | Taylor Schilling | Rose Byrne | Bobby Cannavale | Paul Giamatti | John Turturro | Ethan Hawke | Steve Buscemi | Fisher Stevens | Zoe Kazan | Paul Dano | Anthony Ramos | Annabella Sciorra|Wyatt Cenac | Debi Mazar | Garrett Temple (Nets) | Caris LeVert (Nets) | Joe Harris (Nets) | Taj Gibson (Knicks)

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List Of Brooklyn for Life! Partner Restaurants:

2 Tablespoons | Amuni |Andrew’s Burgers | Baba Cool |Baby Olive | Bittersweet | Black Iris | Brooklyn Moon | Brooklyn Sweet Spot |Chef Roble | Cheri’s Bed-Stuy | Chez Oskar | Choice Market | Cobble Hill Café |Dino |Dosa Royale | Gerry Rooney | Graziella’s Restaurant |Greene Bites | Habana Outpost |Hi Hello Crepes | Joe & Sal’s Pizza |John’s Donut Coffee Shop |Leo’s Casa Calamari | Luigi’s Pizzeria | Meckelburg’s | Nick’s Lobster House |No. 7 Restaurant | Nostro |Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe | Park Bagels |Peaches Hollapeno |Peaches Hothouse| Peaches Shrimp & Crab Hot Chicken | Rosalu Diner |Shane’s Brooklyn Restaurant | Skal Brooklyn | SoCo | Soul Food Kitchen | Sweet Chef Baker | Tasty Bagels | Two Steps Down


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