Bambina's Cucina in Cedar Grove has been making the best of a bad situation following Hurricane Sandy by collecting donations for the Shore while giving out free soup, despite losing all of its produce.
Bambina's, located at 198 Stevens Ave., offers gourmet foods and catering. The shop lost all of its produce during the power outages following Hurricane Sandy. The produce that did survive the storm was cut up and made into a soup, which is being given out to residents in need of a hot meal.
“We had some produce delivered on Monday that was salvageable,” said store owner and manager Angela Lembo. “We are giving out hot soup, bread, baked goods and coffee for free.”
People are welcome to come in, get warm, charge their electronics and are free to take some soup as long as it's still there, she said.
In the wake of the hurricane, Lembo wanted to do something positive when power was restored.
Since the lights came back on Lembo has been at Bambina's, collecting donations of blankets, pillows, batteries, baby food, pet food, water, clothing, non-perishable foods and many basic necessities.
The collected items will be distributed to residents of the Jersey Shore who were impacted the most by Hurricane Sandy. The Red Cross will pick up the donated items for distribution, said Lembo.
“We didn't do it to be noticed, we did it because we spent so many summers down the Shore since we were children and rent houses all summer long,” she said. “We just want to give something back and say thank you after all these years.”
“The outpour of generosity has been unbelievable,” she said. “We had 22 bags come in one day. I have about 40 bags worth of clothing.”
Bambina's will be open on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. They will begin their regular hours 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.
“The Red Cross is picking up on Saturday but we will be collecting straight through next week,” said Lembo. “We will be collecting donations for the Jersey Shore for as long as people are willing to give.”
Residents willing to donate can visit Bambina's Cucina at 198 Stevens Ave. in Cedar Grove or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.