When Danielle Dearcorn started Hickory Street Catering in 2018, she hoped to be able to serve elderly residents as part of its services. However, she just wasn’t able to provide meals as …
When Danielle Dearcorn started Hickory Street Catering in 2018, she hoped to be able to serve elderly residents as part of its services. However, she just wasn’t able to provide meals as inexpensive as Meals on Wheels, so it never quite worked out as she envisioned.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Amid the unexpected difficulties, Dearcorn has carried on her business while also serving hundreds of meals to residents who are struggling.
“Being able to serve elderly PLUS others in need has been what I’ve wanted to do from the beginning, so it’s been good for my soul to be able to offer something to help,” Dearcorn said. “It’s harder to sit back and watch things happen, so I’m glad to be able to get out and attempt to make a small difference with the help of the community.”
The donated meals started in mid-March as a way to help others while also being able to at least keep the lights on for her business, Dearcorn said. She offered drastically reduced prices as a way to keep meals affordable for those who wanted to support Hickory Street, or they could choose to donate a meal to someone else, given the uncertainty of the future.
Within the first day, over 15 meals were donated, and “it just grew from there,” Dearcorn said. The Powell Volunteer Fire Department helped deliver meals during the first big week, coordinated by Tommy May as two trucks went out with firemen in their gear.
Dearcorn works with the Love Thy Neighbor — Powell group to provide meals each week.
To date, Hickory Street has served 500-600 donated meals between Powell and Cody, serving on Wednesdays and with one extra day for Easter.
Some recipients have been nominated, while others personally request a meal.
In recent weeks, families that were “already financially fragile” have scrambled to get the basics, she said.
“The meal requests vary day to day and week to week, but there is definitely still a large need, even if we are just delivering items to keep vulnerable people from having to venture out,” Dearcorn said.
The Love Thy Neighbor — Powell group provides around 75-100 meals each weekday, with multiple volunteers coming together to serve an average of 400-500 meals every week. Those currently cooking meals include Brenda Mattson, Rhiannon Morlan, Christi Greaham, the Elks, the Point Cafe and Dearcorn, while Jamie Buck helps dispatch volunteer drivers. The American Legion in Powell provides space and helps organize donations.
In recent weeks, Dearcorn said she has seen people step up to help at a level that surprised her. When a need is posted on Facebook, someone quickly raises their hand to help, Dearcorn said.
“It’s very humbling to witness,” she said.
Dearcorn said she’s had “a fantastic group of volunteers” help with the effort.
She’s also thankful for the level of support Hickory Street has seen.
“This community has been so supportive of my business through this and I really hope we can continue to support them in return,” Dearcorn said.
The meals cost between $7-$10 per person, she said, depending on what is offered each week.
Funds are dwindling, Dearcorn said Wednesday, and it costs hundreds of dollars each day to feed everyone.
“We don’t make money on the donated meals,” she said.
Any extra funds have been put toward the next week’s fund or used for bags of produce or other necessities. Extra food items are given to fellow leaders in the Love Thy Neighbor group who provide meals.
“Our goal as a group is to provide meals through the end of May if funds allow,” Dearcorn said.
To donate a meal, visit www.hickorystreetllc.com and check out with the amount of items you would like, using the code DONATE at checkout. A specific recipient can be designated by providing their address and the number of people.