By Jessica Easthope
Verde’s Pizza and Pasta House has been open for 31 days, but its owner is already giving away free food.
Sebastian Bongiovani and his wife Danielle say they worked for 20 years to open their own business. But their American dream is happening at the same time as a humanitarian crisis – right outside their front door.
“Maybe this is why we’re here, we’re open 31 days and now all of this happens, was it meant for me to help out only God knows but I know if I have food I’m not going to make someone go hungry,” Danielle said.
Every night, Sebastian and Danielle hand deliver fresh, hot food to the hundreds of migrants living in the Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn on Staten Island.
“The Catholic in me is in the core of my heart and we live by certain things and there are certain things I care very deeply about, women and children can’t go hungry,” Sebastian said.
The migrants are telling people the conditions are unlivable.
“Oranage juice and cheese sandwiches, breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s all they’re getting,” said Cathy Molino.
Verde’s is also taking donations. Agnes Vandina and Cathy Molino made their donation last night and stopped by today to say thank you and bring more supplies to the migrants.
“You study the corporal works of mercy, feed the hungry, they’re hungry, clothe the naked, they need clothes,” Agnes said.
“She kept saying look at me, look at me, their clothes were filthy, they’re just standing there waiting for anything,” said Cathy.
Sebastian and Danielle say they’re learning now no good deed goes unpunished. People in the conservative neighborhood are angry, some have even called for a boycott of his business.
“If you don’t want to come to Verde’s because I help people, don’t come, don’t want you, we make the best pizza in town, people come here they get a smile, they get a laugh, it’s a family place,” Sebastian said. “There are a lot of people that will come and will continue to come and that’s what we’re here for.”