SARATOGA SPRINGS — Maura Pulver stood behind the counter of the Five Points Market & Deli, which she has owned the past eight years. The east side eatery has served the neighborhood for more than a century.
Last week, one of the neighbors reached out to Pulver to express some concerns.
“One of our regulars - she has three elementary school age kids – she said she and her husband were concerned about kids perhaps not getting meals,” Pulver explained.
Maura Pulver poses inside Five Points Market & Deli with a pair of handmade signs that will be fixed to a table on weekends offering “free lunch, for anyone who needs it,” while supplies on the table last. Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos.
With New York State on “PAUSE” and the closure of schools extended through at least May 15, the woman, Jenn McMahon, was brainstorming an idea for weekends that would complement breakfast and lunch availability for students provided via the Saratoga Springs School District.
“She was thinking about that kid, just riding by on their bike, who maybe didn’t get breakfast this morning,” Pulver said. “I thought, oh my God, I love that; Let’s make it happen.”
The fruition of the idea was to set some sandwiches upon a table outside the store during weekends providing a free lunch for anyone who needs it.
“So I asked her kids to make the signs for it and this past Sunday was our first day of doing it. I put them out there - sandwiches, a nice little package. Some cold cuts, some peanut butter & jelly, some cheese, an apple and potato chips, and some baked cookies,” Pulver said. “There were about 15 of them and by 1 o’clock they were all gone. Jenn ants to do it every Saturday and Sunday, from 11 to 1, and she said: ‘We’re just very fortunate right now that we can help out, and I can probably pay for a month’s worth.’”
Area residents either out for a walk or perusing social media where images of the table fixed with bright blue and yellow hand-made signs topped by an offering of small brown lunch bags went viral were moved by the gesture.
“Let me tell you what happened: when the neighbors heard about it, they came by and took pictures of the table and since Sunday people have been handing me money to have it continue,” Pulver said. “Now we’re thinking about maybe adding another day, or maybe increasing the numbers. We want to keep it going for as long as we can.”