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The Takeout Project returns, calling residents to support local eateries and neighbors in need

People by: Chrissy Ruggeri, January 15, 2022

Barbara Bolen, creator of The Takeout Project, a community-based initiative that supports local business while helping families in need.

The Takeout Project was created by Northport Village resident Barbara Bolen, who in winter 2021 devised a unique way to get warm meals into the hands of families in need, all while supporting local businesses.

Last year, the Project raised approximately $9,000 in donations and inspired several other Long Island communities to start their own projects. Donations came in the form of gift cards, which were purchased from 35 different Northport and East Northport restaurants, as well as Northport Dollars that can be used at dozens of participating businesses.

This month, with the help of Northport resident (and editor of the Northport Journal) Joanne Kountourakis, the Takeout Project has relaunched in an effort to continue supporting local people and businesses in need as the community endures yet another Covid surge on top of the area’s typical slow season.

“When we wrapped up the Project last year, I had strong hopes that it would have been a ‘one and done’ endeavor," Barbara explained to the Journal. “Like everyone else, there was the hope that the availability of vaccinations would have returned us to a fairly normal state this winter. Unfortunately, soaring Covid positivity rates are once again having a negative impact on our local restaurants as people are fearful of eating out and catching the virus.”

Barbara thought about bringing the Project back this year, but wasn’t sure if people were as motivated as they were one year ago. Last year, she said, “there was more of a sense of ‘We are in this together’ and therefore a stronger desire to help those who are hurting.” This year, she feared that the prolonged nature of the pandemic could have cultivated a sense of apathy within the community.

It was Joanne reaching out to Barbara that solidified the relaunch. “She reached out to me out of the blue and offered her help. Her energy and willingness to help addressed both of my concerns. Of course, the spark to help is still alive and well in our amazingly civic-minded community,” Barbara said.

With the partnership solidified, the Project kicked off again on January 1. Contributing is easy. First, go to any local restaurant or eatery and purchase a gift card for a local family in need. Then drop it off at one of these participating locations:

The Nest on Main, 135 Main Street, Northport
Einstein’s Attic, 79 Main Street, Northport
Southdown Coffee, 72 Main Street, Northport
Mario’s Pizzeria, 311 Larkfield Road, East Northport

Barbara and Joanne collect the gift cards weekly, then bring them to the Ecumenical Lay Council’s food pantry in Northport and the St. Anthony of Padua’s Saint Vincent de Paul food pantry in East Northport, who have agreed to distribute them.

With the Takeout Project, local restaurants benefit from some added income during this challenging time, and neighbors who are struggling are able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a chef-cooked hot meal. It’s a win-win that serves as another example of how Northport-East Northport residents continue to support one another throughout these trying times.

To purchase Northport Dollars, send a check made out to the Northport Chamber of Commerce and mail it to:
Barbara Bolen
46 Woodbine Ave. Ste. 4
Northport, NY 11768