Milford restaurant offering free meals for those in need

Franco Largione shows the meals that Mama Maria restaurant in Milford is donating to the community. (Submitted photo)

MILFORD — Brothers Franco and Sal Laragione have been feeding Milford and the surrounding community for 30 years at their restaurant Mama Maria.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the brothers are stepping up to help feed those in need.

Mama Maria will give out 10 to 20 meals a day to families in need, starting today. The restaurant will be distributing the free meals Monday-Friday until the pandemic is over. It is open daily.

The meal includes Italian pasta, a jar of homemade sauce and six fresh yeast rolls.

“As a small business, the community has protected the small business. Now we want to protect the people,” said Mama Maria secretary Michelle Sherman. “There are people out there who are hungry and they can make a meal out of what we give them.”

A table will be set up outside of the restaurant at 945 A N. Dupont Blvd, Suite A&B, in Milford, with one employee. Families in need are encouraged to call before 11 a.m. as bags will be available between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If someone calls later in the afternoon, Ms. Sherman said the staff would do its best to not turn them away.

“It’s no questions asked, we want them to be able to eat,” Ms. Sherman said. “It takes a lot of stress off people to sit down at night and have a warm meal.”

All sauce and bread are made in the restaurant.

The restaurant has remained open for regular takeout service throughout the COVID-19 crisis, following all CDC guidelines. Mama Maria’s second location in Dewey Beach is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mama Maria has seen a decline in business since social distancing was put into effect. But that’s not stopping it from supporting those in need.

“We’ve seen a decrease in sales, big sales,” Ms. Sherman said. “The people who have come to support can no longer come. We figured it’s time for us to support them.”

“Keep the community fed,” Ms. Sherman added. “That’s the slogan. These boys are very generous men and what they’ve done for this community is amazing.”

The free meals for those in need is not limited to Milford residents.

“It’s not just for Milford,” Ms. Sherman said. “It’s for all. Anyone around us, Harrington, Milton, Dover, Magnolia, whoever is in need.”

Ms. Sherman also said Mama Maria has received numerous donations from its regular customers. People have called and asked to pay for the next 10 meals of the day, covering the next 10 customers to walk in.

“We appreciate every bit of community help regardless of what it is,” Ms. Sherman said. “Our patrons are fantastic. We got the donations, now we just got to find the families wh need them. We want all people to eat.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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