Since around 2012, a grassroots organization called Love Geneva has supported artistic and economic stability in the Geneva community. When the pandemic shut down the arts and most small businesses in March, Love Geneva sought to find a way to continue its effort. Kevin Dunn is founder of Love Geneva. He worked with Stomping Grounds to print and sell signs declaring Stay Strong Geneva.
“We started the Stay Strong, one to have these signs up to kind of build this community support, connectivity and at the same time to be a fundraiser for Boys and Girls Club. We raised over $4,000 to the Boys and Girls Club for that project.”
The Boys and Girls Club effort to feed those in need grew quickly, eventually partnering with Hobart and William Smith to distribute hundreds of meals every week. Blueprint Geneva and chef Samantha Buyskeys started a meal program on Saturdays. Dunn realized that with nobody providing Sunday meals, there was an opportunity to help those in need including area restaurants.
“Well, let’s buy some lunches from a local restaurant, so that there’s a revenue stream going to the local restaurant and then provide those lunches for free to whoever needs that.”
Love Geneva has handed out around 80 lunches every Sunday since May. In recent months, every meal has been claimed in about 15-minutes.
To date, no restaurant Love Geneva has approached has turned them down. A couple of restaurants have refused to accept any money. Most prepare the meals at a reduced cost to Love Geneva.
The meals are funded entirely by private donations. Dunn held a social media fundraiser for his birthday that raised thousands of dollars. Now Love Geneva has partnered with a local non-profit to handle donations from individuals who want to help out.
“We’re now working with a local non-profit 3Stories; arts, industry, and opportunity is how it works. The local non-profit takes in the money as a tax deductible donation and then send it on to us. So, we have a legal non-profit that we are under the umbrella of, so any donation now is a tax deductible donation.”
Information on how to donate to the Sunday Lunch with Love Geneva project is on their website LoveGeneva.com and from their Facebook page.