When the Covid-19 pandemic began increasing in Nassau County in March, a Hewlett resident who is known as the “Kosher Guru” wanted to come up with a way to say thank you to those on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Gabriel Boxer launched the Kosher Response Project in the earliest days of the pandemic in March. The goal of the project is to donate meals to first responders around the tri-state area.
Boxer is known as the “Kosher Guru” due to his background in the kosher food industry. He is a restaurant consultant who seeks to help companies thrive in the industry. Boxer has a prominent presence on social media as his Instagram account: @kosherguru has over 45,000 followers.
The Kosher Response Project began when Boxer decided to donate food to workers at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside in mid-March.
“A friend of mine messaged me saying he knows the head of a Covid emergency department unit at South Nassau who talked about how hard the staff had been working,” Boxer said. “I immediately ran to a store to buy food and drove it over to South Nassau.”
The positive feeling Boxer got from making that donation prompted him to increase his efforts. “I have family friends who work at NYU Winthrop and Mercy Hospital and I wanted to help them in any way I could,” he said. “I just kept bringing food to them and I winded up getting a great response from people on social media for it.”
One of the people who found out about the project on social media was North Woodmere resident Miri Stern, who helps coordinate where donated items go. "I work as a realtor and right now the work is limited," Stern said. "I saw what Gabe was doing and I thought it would be a great way to give back to healthcare workers."
Stern recovered from Covid-19 after testing positive on March 11, which inspired her to want to give back more.
"North Woodmere was a hotspot for the virus at the beginning as I know many families who tested positive," she said. "It took about two weeks for me to get over the virus and I was very thankful to recover since I know neighbors and family members who did not survive."
The efforts extend beyond Nassau as Boxer and his team donated roughly 3,400 food bags and 500 meals to members of the U.S. Navy Covid Medical Response Team stationed at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan during passover. “We’re getting food requests everyday,” he said. “Everyday, we’re giving out 500 to 2,000 meals a day.”
Donations to the project and information about volunteering can be made online at: www.kosherresponse.com.