By Ray Balogh
SYRACUSE — First responders, health care workers and the general public were all beneficiaries of a meal giveaway that started at noon Thursday, May 7.
As part of the “Syracuse Strong” initiative, the town’s chamber of commerce and several businesses teamed up to prepare a variety of healthy meals for distribution.
Renea Salyer, the chamber’s executive director, shuttled meals and certificates to the staff of Miller’s Merry Manor, Syracuse Police Department and both Turkey Creek fire stations.
Meanwhile, HealthElite Sports Performance and Nutrition handed out meals through its drive-thru window and across the service counter in its facility, located in the former Taco Bell building on the southeast corner of Huntington and Chicago streets.
More than 300 meals were prepared for the give
away and by 12:40 p.m. all but about 100 meals had been distributed. The project was advertised to last through 5 p.m. “or until gone.”
“We are cooking more right now,” said Brandon Davis, who owns the nutrition center with his brother Chase.
The seven varieties of meals were similar to those regularly sold at HealthElite and consisted of Jamaican jerk turkey, honey barbecue turkey, grilled chicken wrap, chicken Alfredo, penne pasta, bacon lover’s grilled chicken and chicken frittata. Each meal contained sides such as broccoli, green beans, sweet or herb potatoes and rice.
The current “Syracuse Strong” initiative “came about as soon as the stay-at-home order kicked in,” said Salyer.
“It’s a great way to boost morale and it just caught on,” she said, noting the chamber purchased 60 yards signs and commissioned the printing of paper signs for businesses
and residents to post in their windows.
“We get some nice e-mails about seeing the consolidation of the community from the signs and the message,” she said.
“Eric Leffler from Dynamic Spine & Rehabilitation Center in Syracuse was the catalyst for the preparation of the meals,” said Salyer.
Davis said Leffler “had someone come in and tell me to contact him. The chamber got all the donors.”
Other participating businesses were:
• Encore Sotheby’s International Realty
• Pro Wake Watersports
• Stoney Point LLC
• SWCC Foundation Inc.
• Tippy Creek Winery
A full article about the giveaway will appear in the May 13 edition of The Mail-Journal.