Catholic Baker Opens Shop & Set on Helping the Homeless

Tags: Currents Cooking, Faith, Food, Homeless, New York City, Queens, NY, Valentine's Day

By Tim Harfmann

Currents News first introduced you to Lisa Cotoggio on Valentine’s Day, when she delivered heart-shaped cheesecake sandwiches to the homeless.

“It’s always been my biggest fear that I would wind up homeless myself. I just think it’s very important that we help them,” she said last February.

Fast forward, she’s busy using her grandmother’s cheesecake recipe to whip up sweet sandwiches at her new store, which opened on September 28.

Before the shop, Lisa was selling her baked goods online and operating out of a rented kitchen.

But now, she can’t keep enough desserts on her shelves.

“I thought I made enough for a couple days, but I pretty much sold out,” Lisa explained of her grand opening. “My mom came in because she wanted to contribute, and I wouldn’t let her buy anything because I need stuff for the next day.”

Lisa still has her fears, but she’s working hard to keep her dream alive.

“For me, this has to work. Because if this doesn’t work, I’m going to have that same problem,” she said.

Although she now has the shop, she still plans to be back on the streets next Valentine’s Day, giving more love to people in need.

Lisa credits her Catholic roots and priests at Saint Fidelis Church in College Point, Queens. She attended the parish’s Catholic school, where she learned her desire to help out.

“I think the priests instilled that,” she said. “I went to church twice a week, and they just instilled that in all the sermons, that you should help.”

Lisa sells 18 different cheesecake sandwich flavors, like chocolate chip, and she has big plans to sell her product in supermarkets.

“Whole Foods, Fairway, ShopRite; they’re all very interested in bringing it in. That will be going in in the three main flavors: the plain, chocolate chip, and milk chocolate,” she explained.