Paying it Forward After Hurricane Irma

Chef Judi reminds us that a cold drink or a batch of homemade cookies can make a huge difference in someone's day when times are tough.

By Judi Gallagher September 14, 2017

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What a week.

We survived Irma's threat to our Suncoast with some inconveniences—but we fared so much better than so many others.

While I channeled my anxiety pre-storm by cooking for family and friends, post-storm many people are throwing out their refrigerator and freezer items and wondering how long they can live off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Restaurants are slowly reopening, but many of them have lost almost all their ingredients at a slow time of year, when income is already stressed thanks to the quieter pace of summer.

All of this reminds me of the simple pleasures we all take for granted. Fresh brewed coffee with cream. Cold salads, chilled fruit. Pan-seared salmon with orange vinaigrette.  

Several years ago, when I wrote about the inconvenience of living through a kitchen remodel, Nancy Krohngold from Nancy's Bar-B-Q dropped off dinner as a surprise . It was spectacular—a full, hot meal with sides.

I promised to pay it forward, so today I dropped off chicken 'n' dumplings, roast turkey wraps and chocolate chip cookies to friends who worked 24/7 to keep us safe or friends who have no power. It's a little gesture, but paying it forward can mean so much, especially as we survey downed power lines and trees that miraculously fell in between homes instead of right on them.

Houston showed us how to be a friendly neighbor who helps others. And we should have patience as restaurants reopen and staff worries about not having last week's paycheck. 

As we all begin to find normalcy again, let's continue to be the light for others, and remember how bringing someone a cold drink, simple casserole of batch of cookies can unite us all in tough times.

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