By Emily Drooby
Dough, sauce and cheese mix together for the perfect combination, but there’s something that makes Lombardo’s of Bay Ridge pizza even better: knowing it’s going to those who are struggling during the pandemic.
Owner Emanuele Lombardo posted on social media offering to feed any child who’s having a hard time eating because schools are closed.
“I told anybody that they can come in, speak to me privately, call the store, I will help anybody in need,” he explained. “I just wanted to give back, and this was the best way.”
New York City provides free meals to all 1.1 million children in the public-school system. And while not every student takes the food, many have to.
During the shutdown, grab-and -go meals are available at many city schools. At first for students only, now the meals are available to anyone who might need them.
Just like the city, Emanuele is also extending his offer from students to anyone who is hungry.
He’s also providing free food to hospital staff, EMTs, police officers, firefighters and all of those on the frontlines.
Some of his customers are also pitching in to help out.
“I want to thank all of the customers who come to Lombardo’s, who have eaten there, have called up and donated. Everybody has donated,” Emanuele said.
Like most businesses across the country, Lombardo’s of Bay Ridge Pizza has been having a tough time during the pandemic. Profits are down, but that isn’t stopping the Catholic man and his family from giving back.
“When times are good, it’s easy to help, it’s when the times are rough that we need to help. And that’s what I tell my kids all the time,” said Emanuele. “Because I believe in God, it’ll come back to me. Somehow, someway, some good will come back to me.”
He’s even teaching the next generation of the Lombardo family the importance of helping others.
“The little one came up to me and said dad, ‘I want to be a superhero, but I have no special powers,” he explained. “So I told him, ‘Helping people is a power.’”
In Bay Ridge, Emanuele is being a real-life hero and a good guy to all.