On Manzer’s Landscape Design and Development, Inc.’s website, they have a page on COVID-19 where the company highlights their new safety practices that they will be following as well as a number of complimentary services that will be offered to clients with heightened vulnerability to the virus.
Based in Peekskill, New York, Manzer’s encourages clients who are 60+ or have pre-existing medical conditions to not hesitate to contact them if they need assistance with grocery shopping, picking up medication, running important errands or walking their dog. Chappy Manzer, owner of Manzer’s, says at least a dozen clients have taken them up on the offer.
“We have always been a customer-oriented company,” Manzer says. “A lot of our clientele is up in age and we wanted to keep our guys working versus laying them off. I was staying up at night thinking of ways we could help. It’s spiraled into three or four initiatives now.”
As a member of the Peekskill Rotary Club, Peekskill Chamber of Commerce and the HOPE for Youth Foundation, Manzer has always been involved in giving back to the community and wanted to provide food for people out of work. He’s been doing this for seven weeks now.
“I think we have about $18,000 to $20,000 committed,” Manzer says. “I figured we could feed people and help out people so they don’t have to shut their restaurants down. They’re not going to make a killing but at least they can pay their bills and pay their employees.”
From there, Manzer started working the Peekskill Rotary, the City of Peekskill and Feeding Westchester to package groceries and distribute them to people on Tuesdays. On Fridays, Manzer, the Rotary and local volunteers hand out hot meals to passersby in cars.
Manzer felt the first responders were being left out so he partnered with Luis Segarra and Rohan Defreitas of The Crescent Companies and Jason Chiramonte of Nardone’s Funeral Home to provide meals to frontline workers such as the local fire department, police department, Department of Public Works employees, nursing home staff and hospital staff.
“I came up with a calendar and I went to people that own local restaurants,” Manzer says. “We made deals with them and pretty much every day of the week, we’re delivering lunch, dinner or breakfast to one of those agencies.”
With Manzer’s crews able to resume full operations on May 15, Manzer says he has arranged for the restaurants to deliver the food, and when they can’t, he will pick up the food and deliver it. He estimates they’ve fed anywhere between 800 and 1,000 essential workers so far.
Members of the community who have heard what Manzer is doing have volunteered to pitch in as well, providing help where needed. Manzer also created a GoFundMe page where individuals can donate money for meals for the essential workers.
“As long as the need is there, we’re going to keep it up,” Manzer says.
Additionally, Manzer worked with The Crescent Companies and Nardone’s Funeral Home to purchase and deliver 450 hanging plants to the staff at the Hudson Valley Hospital for Mother’s Day.
“My mom passed away last fall and to just to see how happy they were almost brought tears to my eyes,” Manzer says.
Manzer’s advice to other members wanting to give back is to not overextend yourself.
“It’s always been important to us to give back to the community, but you have to be comfortable with what you’re giving back,” Manzer says.