Good food. Is it meant to be shared or eaten alone? We’ll give you a few seconds to ponder this question.
OK, time’s up!
We know that indulging in your own bucket of Curley’s Fries can feel like pure bliss. But we also know that a Jumbo Pizza and barrel of Curley’s Fries can bring a whole family or group of friends together. Jessica Green, self-proclaimed foodie and author of the Scramble says, “The food also becomes a topic of conversation and leads to discovering shared experiences and interests. It is essential to the community building that we are doing.”
So, the next time you’re so quick to slap your little brother’s hand out of the Curley Fry bucket, maybe think again!
With four restaurants and over fifteen grab and go locations, it’s pretty safe to say that we run a fairly large food and beverage operation. And while we do our best to minimize as much food waste as possible, there’s always a surplus at the end of each season. This year’s surplus proved to be a bit larger than normal due to events being canceled and the concern for supply chain disruptions amidst the pandemic.
In the spring, we purchased additional items including, canned goods, cereal, frozen items, bagels, breakfast meats, and more. The idea was that a pop-up food bank could be set up in the event of a food shortage and be shared with the local community. Thankfully, that did not occur and those items, in addition to the company’s typical end of the season surplus, were able to go to some great local organizations.
In the beginning of October, Morey’s Piers food and beverage team organized and distributed unused food items to employees, local organizations, and schools; something we’ve been doing for the last five years. “I get so excited every year when it’s time to contact our local organizations for food donation pick up,” said Denise Beckson, Vice President of Human Resources. “It is such a good feeling knowing all our unused product is going to such good use like feeding the hungry or helping to educate our youth - and not ending up in the dumpster!”
First, Morey employees are given the opportunity to rummage through the inventory room and purchase items at a fairly low cost. Ride Mechanic, Rich Peterson, couldn’t wait to get his hands on some burgers to share with his family. “I like to use the burgers for an end of season BBQ with my grandkids,” said Rich. “We heat the pool to 90 degrees and enjoy it all day long.”
After the one-day employee sale, there’s still plenty of perfectly good food to go around. The remainder of the unused food is then shared with our local community.
The First United Methodist Church in Cape May Court House, which operates a food pantry for the county’s underprivileged residents, received over $800 in food donations. Another $2,800 in donations, or two truckloads, was donated to Lazarus House, an ecumenical food pantry supported by six congregations in the Wildwoods. In 2019, this group provided food and other essentials to over 15,000 individuals, children, and families and was named “Organization of the Year” by the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders, through the Department of Aging and Disability.
The Lazarus House accepts donations every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. For additional information as to how you can donate please visit, www.lazarushouseministries.org.
“The Morey’s donations expand the selection of items we can provide to our guests who come to us every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” says Frank Stone, Lazarus House director. “It’s the perfect timing as the number of individuals are increasing each week as the winter is approaching.”
Finally, $2,500 worth of food was donated to the culinary program at Wildwood High School, which enrolls approximately 70 students, spanning over 6 classes per day. “Seeing what is donated is always exciting for the students,” says Stephen Serano, the school’s culinary arts teacher. “They ALWAYS look for the ice cream treats, then they ask about the popcorn shrimp!”
The students use the donated items in a variety of ways including; a student-run café for students and faculty, the school’s Warrior Wagon food truck, and as part of a new salad bar that has been set up to offer students healthier lunch options. And when asked about how they are going to use up all that donated cheese? Lasagna Roll Ups for everyone! Scarano says his students will be making and sharing them in the cafeteria for the whole school to enjoy.
“The donations really mean the world to us because it helps us teach the kids to utilize what is available,” says Serano. “It also allows us to package items to send home for kids in need.” Anyone interested in making a food donation to support the next generation of culinary artists and students can contact Stephen Serano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But wait… there’s more! The culinary students are also in for another big treat this year. The classroom will be upgraded with a brand-new dishwasher, along with, a pot and pan washing station. “This will mirror a real professional kitchen environment that will allow the students to be more industry ready and prepared for what a real-life kitchen atmosphere will be like,” says Serano.
And from the sounds of it - they made need it. We hear egg day in the classroom can get a bit messy!
So, in the great debate if good food should be shared or eaten alone – here’s what we think. Whether it’s chowing down on a Jumbo’s Pepperoni Pizza with your family, enjoying a barrel of Curley’s Fries over date night, or donating items to your local food pantries and organizations, sharing food strengthens the bonds we are building with our family, friends, and community - and we think that’s a WIN!