MILFORD — A local lawyer who loves the city’s restaurants and has a special place in his heart for essential workers, including medical personnel, has come up with a creative way to help both groups amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Matt Glennon, 29, son of Board of Education Chairwoman Susan Glennon, has established a GoFundMe campaign so he can purchase food at local restaurants to be donated to essential workers — among them police, fire, public works and personnel at Yale New Haven, Bridgeport and Milford hospitals.
“What better way to do two good things at once?” Glennon said. “I’ve been in Milford my whole life and one of the greatest parts are the restaurants.”
Glennon, a business and real estate attorney at Berchem Moses, worked in the industry locally from high school through law school at Milford Yacht Club.
He is also a member of the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is all about helping businesses.
“I feel bad for them (the restaurants). You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution,” Glennon said. “We can’t do anything about the virus, but we can help them come out stronger on the other end.”
On the side of those receiving the food benefit — police, fire, medical responders — Glennon has many family members in those fields, including an older sister who is a registered nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital.
“This is a good way we can lessen the burden and make sure they’re healthy and eating,” Glennon said.
Local restaurant owners say they love Glennon’s idea, as they struggle financially and get creative in offering deals for curbside pick-up and delivery. Social media is flooded with deals as restaurants try to move their inventory.
Restaurants are no longer able to serve in-house because of fear of coronavirus spread, and no one knows when the ban will be lifted. They can do no-contact delivery and pick-up only.
“I think it’s a great idea, anything the community can do to come together,” said Timmy Tsopanides, owner of Kimberly Restaurant.
Tsopanides said his business is down 75 percent and that he has no choice but to “ride it out.”
“The little guys like us are suffering,” he said. “I think that when we reopen the flood gates will open and people will want to get out.”
Ryan Trevethan, owner of The Plate, a popular eatery, said sales are way down, but it looks like he’ll be able to “stay afloat” with financial help being offered through loans. loyal regular customers who have bought gift cards to use later and a neighborhood “pay it forward,” movement.
“I think it’s an awesome idea,” Trevethan said of Glennon’s idea.
The Plate doesn’t normally deliver — but is right now — and normally only 10 percent of their business is takeout. Trevethan said he kept staff as long as he could, but now, until the restaurant business normalizes, it will be him and his wife, with him delivering.
Like some other restaurants, he’s gotten creative to keep business going – nice entrees with sides for $12, a Taco Tuesday kit for $9 per person and he will begin offering a $6 school lunch-type menu. He said restaurant owners are also sharing strategies with each other.
Under Glennon’s plan, every cent collected will go to the cause – he will purchase the food and with the help of volunteer friends will deliver it as needed.
Glennon, who has flexibility working from home during the pandemic, said he’s hoping to start the first round of deliveries this week.
He put the “Support Milford Restaurants and Essential Workers” GoFundMe post up Saturday and already Milford has pledged nearly $1,600, which doesn’t surprise Glennon, because he said he loves Milford and the city truly lives up to its slogan as “The little city with the big heart.”
“We’re going to keep ordering and delivering food until we’re out of money,” Glennon said.