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  • Writer's pictureNatalya Murakhver

It's a whole new world.

Hi everyone,

I hope that you are all safe (and sane) and that this disease has not made its mark on you or your loved ones.

It is almost unfathomable to imagine that just a month and a half ago, on February 26th, I was at City Hall lobbying for scratch cooked meals, nutrition education, gardens, and more time for school lunch. How I would love to be able to do that again! We will, but not for a while.

The work of the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance is on pause for now. No legislative bills are being heard in City Council and schools are closed for the term. When we come back to normal, we will resume our work, but it may look different in the wake of this epidemic. We will see.

There is so much despair and grief and anxiety that has come from this disease—unprecedented rates of unemployment, rising rates of food insecurity, fears about financial security, coupled with the day-to-day mundane tasks of shopping, cooking, homeschooling, cleaning, laundry, and self-care. It's a lot.

But, I am also so moved by the incredible unity and grace and kindness that I see everyday from my window on Henry Street in Brooklyn. Rainbows of solidarity in every window, people smiling and talking to each other through windows and masked faces, clapping and hooting for Health Care workers every evening at 7pm.

The incredible work of our restaurant industry, which was decimated in the span of one day, in cooking and delivering meals to frontline healthcare workers in hospitals battling the epidemic, and in coming together to create relief funds for laid off workers is unbelievably inspiring, all of it.

Our city has also been impressive in making three meals a day available to everyone in over 400 meal hubs citywide. In addition to those three meals, there was news today from the Mayor that the city will soon be offering kosher meals and household pantry boxes!

As for me, I have been reporting about the COVID epidemic for Food & Wine and it's been rewarding to cover the restaurant industry at this time and to connect people with relief organizations and food access services. Like many of you, I am also trying to keep my kids somewhat educated while preventing them from killing each other, and have become a better short order cook than I ever imagined I'd be. A bright note for me is watching John Krasinski's Some Good News.

In closing, I guess I'll just say this: if there were ever a question about what the people of this city are made of, it was answered over the past few weeks. We are a city of fighters, we are hard-nosed, outspoken, and strong-willed, but we are all heart—full of compassion, patience, kindness and love.

Drop me a note and let me know how you are or share a great recipe. Stay well and stay home.

Much love to all of you,


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