Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous local businesses have stepped up to help each other and the underserved population in Rochester. DiBella’s Old Fashioned Submarines Inc. has donated more than $365,000 to food banks in more than a dozen cities across the five states the restaurant serves.
Foodlink Inc. this month received a $100,000 donation from DiBella’s Subs, which will help provide more than 300,000 meals to those in need in the region. Foodlink is the regional food bank that provides donated food to local pantries, among other things.
DiBella’s has begun a Pay It Forward program in which any customer who wants to donate a tray of subs to first responders, health care workers, military and other essential workers will receive 50 percent off that order. DiBella’s will match the rest and deliver the food. More than 100 trays had been delivered by the first week in May, officials said.
The restaurant also offers 50 percent off all subs to first responders. More than 1,500 orders fed more than 6,000 first responders in Rochester as of May 6, and the program continues. The essential worker program has led to more than $50,000 in discounts for “local heroes,” company officials said.
DiBella’s on Saturday concluded its National Nurses Week program, which expanded its Pay It Forward program to include boxed lunches for local nurses. For each customer purchase of a boxed lunch at full price that was donated to an essential worker, the restaurant matched the donation and sent the same number of boxed lunches to nurses in the community.
Finally, DiBella’s reached out to PepsiCo Inc. and Frito-Lay Inc., which came through with tractor-trailers full of packaged snacks to supplement the lunches that DiBella’s has donated. Some recent deliveries have been made to Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital and Edna Tina Wilson Living Center.
DiBella’s was founded in Rochester nearly a century ago as an Italian import store and deli. The restaurant has more than 40 stores in five states, including seven in the Rochester area.