BLOOMFIELD, NJ — This past Easter was a difficult one for many celebrants, as they could not observe the holiday with their usual company and customs. For some, the holiday was even more difficult, as they worried about where their Easter meal would come from. But Bloomfield businessman Salvatore Siconolfi, who owns Bella Napoli restaurant, had their backs, providing free Easter meals to those in need.
“I just felt a lot of families needed this,” Siconolfi told the newspaper. “With all of this bad that’s been going on, I wanted there to be some good. I wanted to help people and families enjoy Easter even with all the chaos that’s been going on. We have been sending food to hospitals and working with our town to feed families through this crisis for free. I have kids, and I know it’s not easy with times like this to put food on the table, so I want to make sure I can help as many families as I can.”
And Siconolfi and his team at the restaurant were certainly able to help a lot of families, supplying dinners of penne filetto di pomodoro, bread, and cake.
“I was set and prepared for 50 to 60 dinners and that was gone in 20 minutes,” Siconolfi said. “And as I saw people pulling up with children, and people asking for other families, I couldn’t refuse. We ended up making about 300 dinners in total.”
The effort wasn’t just from Siconolfi and his restaurant though.
“Gencarelli’s Bakery in Bloomfield heard about what I was doing and sent over more bread, cakes, pastries. I couldn’t believe how much they sent — easily 50 loafs of bread and 100 assorted cakes,” he said. “It felt great giving that little extra to the kids.”
Siconolfi is working to help his community despite the fact that his business is suffering strain during the lockdown as much as many other businesses in the state.
“Our restaurant sits about 300 guests plus patio area that sits about another 80 people. We handle events, christenings, showers, communions, so this hit us hard,” he said. “But I just feel you can’t give up in life; we have to fight. So I figured takeout and delivery to help us survive, along with helping our staff. I feel every downside in life has an upside. I think it’s great, how almost everyone is doing what they can to help one another. Life was always going so fast that you didn’t have the time to stop and think how life is already hard for families in this day andjs age — something I myself overlooked.
“I just feel we all have a lot to be thankful for, and I want to spread the love and remind people of that.”