Innovative idea demonstrates power of connections

Scott Rockafellow, his daughter, Tess and son, Max, pick up orders that are ready for delivery to three Caritas Connections clients
Scott Rockafellow, his daughter, Tess, and son, Max,
pick up orders that are ready for delivery to three
Caritas Connections clients.

Scott Rockafellow had an idea. Seeing how much the ongoing pandemic had hurt local restaurants and knowing there were even more people struggling to get by, he thought, "What if we could raise money to help local restaurants and then use the money raised to pre-buy meals that could in turn be delivered to those in need?"

Scott is a parishioner at St. Gerard Majella and was a co-chair of FallFest for several years with Caritas Connections volunteer, Mary Kempa. Scott knew that many area restaurants that had been reduced to carryout service only were struggling and that some of their employees were in danger of losing their jobs, right around the holiday season.

In his role as FallFest chairman, Scott worked with two restaurants that had generously donated food items as part of "Taste of SGM". So he approached The Corner Pub and Three Kings Public House to see if they might be interested in participating and they agreed to the overall concept. Next, Scott approached Caritas Connections, asking if the organization would be open to having meals served to some of our existing clients.

Connecting those who have with those who need is what Caritas is all about so we said yes to his proposal and put him in touch with Our Lady's Inn, Crisis Nursery St. Louis and Boys Hope/Girls Hope who all agreed to be part of the program.

From there, Scott sent a letter on behalf of his entire family to friends and acquaintances, requesting that they "Donate A Night Out" which would help provide needed revenue to area restaurants to help their employees get through the holidays and in turn, provide meals to those in need through Caritas Connections.

The response was overwhelming, resulting in $4500 in donations, which was then matched, dollar for dollar by Scott's employer, Bayer whose corporate vision is "Health for All. Hunger for None."

Scott delivered two checks, each for $4500 to the two restaurants before the holidays and then began working on the logistics involved in coordinating orders and setting up pick up and delivery times. Like all things COVID-related, it took a while to put the program into motion.

Each Caritas client has a different need (family style, individual meals, best day of delivery) and the restaurants are being extremely flexible in meeting those needs. Our Lady's Inn isn't staffed for weekends so getting meals prepared and delivered is a huge help. Crisis Nursery is getting 50 prepared meals delivered right to their door and the staff at Boys Hope/Girls Hope mentioned that meals had become the number one expense during the coronavirus and that it was likely that some of the children had never ordered off of a restaurant menu before.

After one successful weekend of the program, there are now four more weekends in the works with the hopes of adding two additional Caritas Connections clients to the roster. Scott, his wife Michelle, and their two kids are all engaged in collecting the orders and coordinating delivery to the three different organizations. It has become a family effort. For Scott's son, Max, it became his senior project. His daughter, Tess is getting service hours, and getting the entire family involved has been rewarding, knowing that the good they are doing is helping some local restaurants as well as all sorts of people who they'd probably never encounter do a little bit better during this ongoing pandemic. According to Scott, "We'll keep on delivering until the money runs out."

We salute the Rockafellow family and the many others who have helped turn this program into a reality.

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Caritas Connections, Inc. | P.O. Box 31072 | St. Louis, MO 63131

a 501(c)(3) organization