SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Plate it Forward, a new program to fight hunger, is rolling out in Southington.
The program allows participating restaurants to give customers the option to purchase a second meal for someone in need.
Garry Brummett, a realtor, was a driving force behind the new organization. Every few months, his business networking group pools money together to buy breakfast. The extra money goes to a local organization.
In November, the group was left with a surplus of $500. Brummett knew that money could go towards something more.
Using inspiration from organizations in other parts of the country, Plate it Forward was born.
“A person comes into the restaurant and orders there bagel sandwich, egg, bacon, coffee, whatever,” Brummett said. “Then asks for ‘a second one on a second ticket and don’t make it.’ It’s for the board.”
The a-frame message board sits right next to the customer line. Those in need can grab a ticket and jump into line. By making the process simple, Brummett hopes people will feel comfortable using the service.
“Grab something off the board, and get in line. It’s no big deal,” he said.
The program launched at the end of February. Two Southington restaurants are participating — Paul Gregory’s Bistro, located at 168 Center St., and Fancy Bagel, at 405 Queen St.
Dominick Gualtieri, who owns the Fancy Bagel, said the decision to participate was an easy one.
“There’s a need for it,” he said. “It has something to do with the community, so we’re all about it.”
The restaurant has already seen an impact since the program launched. The board is full of free meals, and people are beginning to take advantage of the offering.
“[It’s] just an amazing process, and people are really starting to use it now, and it’s gratifying,” Dominick’s mother, Jackie Gualtieri said.
Plate It Forward is reaching out to other organizations in Southington hoping to quickly start helping more people. Gualtieri said giving back to the community is a full circle moment for his family.
“My mom, raising two kids, you know a single parent in the ’80s, we had to utilize some of the programs in town,” he said. “We’ve got a good team between us, our customers and the community.”
Eventually, the organization would like to expand across the state.