The COVID Crisis: It’s Thumbs Up For Non-Profits Providing Free Meals From Uptown To Around Town

April 13, 2020

Today, SOMOS, – a non-profit, physician-led network of over 2,500 diverse health care providers primarily serving immigrant communities.

José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen and Maestro Cares Foundation, an organization founded by Marc Anthony and Henry Cardenas, announced that they will distribute thousands of free meals to the predominantly Latino Inwood community each day, Monday through Saturday, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Good Friday and Easter meal giveaways started last week, with over 5,000 meals distributed to kick off the effort.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is making life more difficult for all New Yorkers – but the Latino community has been particularly hard hit,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, SOMOS Founder and Chairman. “SOMOS is teaming up with World Central Kitchen and Maestro Cares Foundation to make sure that families who have lost their jobs, or who are caring for loved ones who have contracted the virus, have one less thing to worry about in this crisis.

We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that vulnerable communities have the resources they need to stay safe and healthy during this difficult time – and be sure that despite the circumstances, families have Good Friday and Easter meals.”

Volunteers will serve over 2,000 meals at La Nueva España restaurant in Inwood each day. On Good Friday, the groups handed out over 5,000 meals to families to ensure that they had a nutritious meal to celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

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“As a team of first food responders, World Central Kitchen is proud to be a part of this important work to provide meals to these, communities in need during these trying times,” shared Nate Mook, World Central Kitchen CEO.

“Maestro Cares Foundation is proud to stand by SOMOS and World Central Kitchen as they are on the frontlines making sure that people are receiving the best medical attention and nutritional good food during these hard times,” expressed Henry Cardenas, co-founder of the Maestro Cares Foundation.

Marc Anthony added, “We truly admire these organizations’ efforts; I am so proud of this partnership and we are all here to help the people of NYC in any possible way we can.”

SOMOS is at the forefront of caring for the Latino and Chinese immigrant communities, the hardest-hit demographic by the coronavirus. In partnership with New York State, SOMOS is presently conducting COVID-19 testing in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx, to make sure that the minority population that the network serves has access to testing so that they can take preventative measures to flatten the curve.

The organization is not requiring personal identification to encourage undocumented New Yorkers to get tested so that they can protect themselves and their families.

As part of the early and rapid response to the outbreak in New York City, SOMOS established telemedicine services in three languages, which has allowed patients to continue to interact with their doctors.

This channel has been critical to ensuring that patients are not taking unwarranted risks to leave their homes to see their doctors while having the convenience to talk through concerns that help determine if they should be referred for COVID-19 testing.

The network created the state’s first comprehensive trilingual – Spanish, Chinese, and English – factsheet to educate New Yorkers, as well as working with government and health officials to track and report the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the city.

In addition to the telemedicine and PSAs, SOMOS has also created protocols and resources to ensure that New York City’s majority immigrant population remain informed and are well-prepared during the pandemic.

For more information about and to access the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 coronavirus, visit

SOMOS is a non-profit, physician-led network of over 2,500 health care providers serving over 700,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in New York City. Launched in 2015 by its Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj, SOMOS is the largest and only physician-led performance provider system participating in the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP).

The SOMOS network includes providers delivering culturally competent care to patients in some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations, particularly Latino, Asian, African-American and immigrant communities throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

Maestro Cares Foundation is a nonprofit Foundation headquartered in Chicago and founded in 2012. The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of orphaned and disadvantaged children in Latin America and the United States. Maestro Cares Foundation works to achieve its mission by creating safe and healthy environments for children to live, learn and play while supporting their development and academic needs. The Foundation helps to raise the necessary funding to continue to grow their mission by collaborating with corporate and nonprofit partners.

Since the launch of its first home for orphaned boys in the Dominican Republic in 2014, the foundation has opened youth homes, community centers, school, foster homes, and launched an educational program in Lima and Cusco, Peru. Altogether, the foundation has committed to 21 projects providing safe and loving spaces for thousands of orphaned and disadvantaged children in Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Bolivia, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Chicago, IL. To learn more visit:

World Central Kitchen is a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to those who need them most. We’re activating hundreds of restaurants and kitchens to feed marginalized and vulnerable communities and our brave medical professionals on the front lines, in order to make a meaningful impact in the fight to keep everyone fed, and to support the distressed restaurant industry.

We know that a nourishing meal in a time of crisis is so much more than a plate of food – it’s hope, it’s dignity, it’s a sign that someone cares about you and that you are not alone.

Photo credit: By Somos.

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