For more than 20 years, Howl at the Moon has been an institution in the Bronx. The bar on E. 189th Street is known for chicken wings, quesadillas and other pub grub. But the bar had to close its doors to patrons because of the pandemic. On Saturday, those doors were wide open, welcoming any child or parent in need of food.

“Its a good feeling. It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Biba Kajtazi, the manager of the bar. “I know it’s not going to feed them for a month, but it’s going to keep them happy for a couple hours.”

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The bar staff spent hours volunteering in order to pack 1,000 brown paper bags, stuffed with fresh sandwiches, cookies and other treats. Some of the food was donated by the restaurant Depot’s Mount Vernon branch, but the bulk of it was the bar’s contribution. 

“I don’t really like being in the house that much. I want to go outside. And it was nice they gave us food,” said Christopher Zapata, who attended the event.

The local councilman, Ritchie Torres, says he appreciates the businesses in his district that are doing what they can to help during the pandemic.

“The need for food is overwhelming,” said Torres. “I’ve never seen a greater sense of desperation here in the Bronx and elsewhere in the city. There was a crisis of food insecurity event before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. That crisis has been taken to another level.”

“Some people don’t have money to pay for food. I think it’s very nice for people to get food and enjoy their food,” said Suri Zapata, who also attended the event.

Like most restaurants and bars in New York City, Howl at the Moon is struggling during this pandemic. The owners don’t know if the business will be able to survive. The owners say it was still important for them and their employees to give back to the community.

“It was really nice of them to think about everybody else, even though the are struggling at this time,” said Solimar Rivera.

Howl at the Moon is open for takeout and delivery, the owners are hoping that helps them keep the lights on. The financial losses, aren’t keeping them from giving back. They’ve also donated meals to health care workers and will continue to distribute the kids meals through the weekend.